FRANCE aim to fully unleash Kylian Mbappe against Morocco after his night of frustration against England.
GettyKyle Walker did a good job defending Kylian Mbappe at the weekend[/caption]
The Frenchman had his least efficient game of the tournament against the Three LionsGetty
French defender Jules Kounde said: “I have not discussed the England game personally with him.
“I do not think he is unhappy. He likes to be in the statistics for scoring goals, but he was intelligent in his choices, we knew what to expect and they blocked him a bit on the wing.
“We moved the ball around a lot, he was happy with the performance
“It was a collective effort, we defended better compared to our win over Poland.
“We closed the passing lines and we made our job a bit easier.
“I have watched the video of the England game. Their left side was their strongest side and we managed to adapt to that.
“I played my game and tried to leave the least space possible — I thought we coped really well.
“We are very aware of Morocco’s qualities. They are very efficient when they have the ball.
“They know how to play on the wings and they are great players. We are going to take that into account in terms of their defence.
“It is remarkable they have conceded once and it was an own goal.
“Look at the teams they have played against as well. We will have to be very accurate with our passing to try and score.”
Antoine Griezmann was France’s star man in midfield against England.
We can put him in a position he might not play as much but he gives 150 per cent.
Barcelona’s Kounde added: “Antoine, over the last couple of years, has become a key player for us. He fights for the team — and it does not matter what position he is in.
“We can put him in a position he might not play as much but he gives 150 per cent, he runs, he presses and does it for the full 90 minutes.
“He also has above average technical capabilities. He is very important.”
Varane said: “The four of us know each other very well.
“We know how to work together, we have a lot of experience and are trying to transmit this philosophy to the younger players and to guide the rest with mentality, team spirit — and trying to share the coach’s thoughts.
We all know what is expected of us now.
“We know what direction we have to go to try to communicate during matches — to transmit our calmness and composure during games where stakes are high.
“It is important to do that. We know our role. We all know what is expected of us now.”
Asked about the clash with England, which France won 2-1 after Harry Kane missed a late penalty, Varane accepted it was similar to the 1-0 win over Belgium in the World Cup semi-final in Russia in 2018.
He said: “Yes, I kind of agree with Giroud about comparing the game against England to the Belgian one.
“England were tough, we faced a very good team.
“They kept the ball well, we suffered and we fought really hard to win.
“But four years is an eternity and the competition’s evolution goes on.
“Time goes very fast in football and now, there is more intensity, the team is tactically very strong and makes fewer mistakes — the level continues to improve, always.
“We are at the semi-finals now and the slightest mistake can cost us. We have a lot of experience in the team, to not fall into the trap of thinking we are favourites against Morocco. As they are through, it is not luck.
“They defend very well and it will be a very difficult game but it is up to us, the players with more experience, to push forward.
“We have to fight really hard and not think it is going to be easy — we have to give 100 per cent and fight to the end. You have to earn a place in the final.”
ReutersJules Kounde and Raphael Varane have spoken ahead of Wednesday’s semi-final[/caption]