Manchester City defender Bacary Sagna has said that England were given a “big slap in the face” with their Euro 2016 defeat at the hands of Iceland.
England were on course for a quarter-final meeting with Sagna’s France before they were dumped out by the minnows in humiliating fashion in Nice on Monday.
Sagna was “shocked” to see the Three Lions eliminated and admits that England were “taught a lesson” by Iceland, but feels that the criticism has been too much.
“It’s a shock, a shock for the country. A lot of people expected it to be France v England,” Sagna is quoted by Sky Sports as saying.
“They’ve got a big slap in the face. The criticism of the players is too much. They’ll get a new coach and try to manage the pressure better.
“I thought England would win because they have a young team with plenty of talent. On the other hand, I was quite happy for Iceland because they played really well. They taught England a lesson and deserve to be where they are.”
However, the former Arsenal right-back is confident that France will not suffer the same fate as England against the smallest country to ever compete at a European Championships.
“We certainly do not underestimate Iceland but we belong to the best sides in Europe, we’re among the favourites and we’re at home,” Sky Sports quote him as saying.
“We have a status to live up to. When we see how the people in the fan zones celebrate when we score a goal, it warms our hearts. We just can’t let them down.
“I’m not thinking about defeat. I’m not planning to go on holidays early. I want to go all the way.”
Sagna has played every minute of France’s campaign to date. He has earned 55 caps since his Les Bleus debut in 2007 but has yet to mark his international career with a trophy.
A good omen for the 33-year-old, and the rest of Didier Deschamps’ talented squad, is that France have won two major tournaments when playing on home soil – Euro 1984 and the 1998 World Cup.
They could complete a special hat-trick this summer if Iceland do not slap them like they did England.
Agent of Euro 2016 star says Real Madrid & Barcelona unlikely to have much luck in transfer chase
Dele Alli WAG: Mystery stunner consoles Tottenham starlet with kiss after Euro 2016 heartbreak
Euro 2016 worst XI so far: England flops dominate after Iceland humiliation