Match-winner Antoine Griezmann revealed harsh words were said at half-time as France fought back to beat Republic of Ireland 2-1 at Euro 2016.
Didier Deschamps’ side fell behind to Robbie Brady’s early penalty and looked well below their best in the first half, but Griezmann – who scored twice in three second-half minutes – said “the proper French team” emerged from the interval.
Asked if the half-time break was tough for the hosts, the Atletico Madrid forward replied: “Yes, for all us. We were shouting at each other. We knew we had to improve.
“In the beginning it was quite difficult. We didn’t play very well. In the second half we were the proper French team that we want to be fighting to the end. I’m happy I was able to help.
“The manager brought Kingsley [Coman] on and he caused some damage. I was closer to our striker and the penalty area. I hope we continue in that way.”
Despite the match being a closer call than France might have expected, Griezmann felt right at home amid the growing tension.
“For me it’s like this all year round with Atletico. We win matches 1-0 and we’re suffering until the end,” the 25-year-old added.
“We were hoping it would be different with the French team, but it’s been similar. We knew it would be a complicated game.
“We’re going to look at what we’ve been doing well and what we need to improve.”
Deschamps’ men will take on England or Iceland, who meet on Monday, in the quarter-finals.
However, they will be without N’Golo Kante and Adil Rami after the pair were booked and incurred suspensions.