France striker Karim Benzema expressed his delight at his team’s 2-0 victory over co-hosts Ukraine in Group D at Euro 2012 on Friday.
The Real Madrid goalscorer became the first French player to produce two assists in a single European Championship game in 28 years, setting up Jeremy Menez and Yohan Cabaye within three minutes of each other in a rain-interrupted clash in Donetsk.
The 24-year-old insisted that while the victory would go far in building confidence within the French camp, it left Laurent Blanc’s men with work to do to secure a quarter-final berth.
“It was important to win. We are all pleased with the outcome of tonight. We did not concede a goal, and we took all three points,” Benzema told RMC Sport.
“It’s been a while since we had not won a (game in the) European Championship or World Cup. We’re all very proud of this result.
“We all had a good game. We played together, we had chances. (Ukraine) were very tired. We had the mastery of the ball. We must continue like this.
“(Assisting a goal) is not totally the same (as scoring), but it’s nice. I like to participate. In addition, it is known that Menez is my buddy. I’m happy for him and also for Yohan.
“We needed this victory, which was very important. There is always a lot of happiness when you come back to the hotel. You know you’ll sleep well because you have taken four points from two matches.”
Asked whether the win left France in a strong position to qualify for the last eight, the striker remained coy about the team’s chances.
“I do not know. It’s good. We have our destiny in our hands. We must not lose. We must continue to play like we did,” he said.
France are top of the group with four points, ahead of England (four points), Ukraine (three) and Sweden (zero).
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!