Marcel Desailly says France are obliged to win their opening matches at Euro 2016 and should be focused on building confidence for the knockout stages of the tournament.
Didier Deschamps’ hosts are among the favourites to win the European Championship and were handed a relatively straight-forward route to the round of 16, having been drawn against Romania, Albania and Switzerland in Group A.
Desailly, who won the World Cup on home soil with Les Bleus in 1998, as well as Euro 2000, believes one of France’s biggest challenges will be coping with the burden of expectation weighing down on the team.
“I’m curious to see how Didier will set up his tactics, his offensive structure, how they are going to cope with the pressure that they must have on their shoulders being the host of this Euros,” he told Omnisport.
“Lots of questions will be answered in the first game. I love Romania, but come on, when you look at our squad you have the potential of saying we can make it, we can win if we start well. If all the players play at their level we are supposed to pass this first obstacle,” he said of Friday’s opening game in Paris.
The former Marseille, AC Milan and Chelsea star went as far as to suggest if Deschamps’ side are unable to earn maximum points from their first two matches, they stand little chance of lifting the Henri Delaunay Trophy for a third time.
“If you cannot beat Romania at home with the squad that you have, it’s finished, stay at home,” he said.
“If you cannot beat Albania in the second game, same thing, the shop is closed and we go home.
“So it’s more connected to how they are going to build up this confidence. Towards any team, we respect them… you have to say that. But the truth is France needs to build up towards the [occasion], not against the opponent.”
Marcel Desailly is leading Carlsberg’s Revolution to give away more UEFA EURO tickets to real football fans than ever before.