By John Egbokhan
France Coach, Francis Smerecki has said that his team were mentally tougher than the Flying Eagles of Nigeria, during Sunday’s quarterfinal match at the ongoing FIFA U-20 World Cup in Colombia.
France made history by reaching the semi-finals of the competition for the very first time, after beating Nigeria 3-2 after a frenetic extra-time period that produced three goals. Subs on both sides were hugely influential, with four goals and three assists all supplied by players who did not start the match.
The additional 30-minute period appears not to suit the Flying Eagles who, at the same stage of this competition at Canada 2007, conceded four goals in extra time of their tie with Chile.
Speaking to fifa.com after the game, Coach Smerecki praised the Coach John Obuh- trained Nigerian side for giving his team a tough battle.
“I want to congratulate Nigeria for their great match. They were strong opponents, with good quality. We are happy because it is the first time France have qualified for a U-20 World Cup semi-final. We have a strong generation with an amazing mental strength and they showed that when Nigeria levelled the match. We were mentally tougher”, aaid the French manager.
Speaking on his forward, Lacazette, who netted a brace against Nigeria, Coach Smerecki said tat the player was destined for greatness in the future
“About Lacazette, I can say he is one of the best strikers of this tournament. Every time he comes from the bench he brings something valuable. We know we can win this tournament, but we think the other team are also strong. We have seen Portugal a couple of times, so now we are going to analyse them and prepare for the match”.