Sunday 11 December 2016

'The fans and the Irish people should be proud of their team' - Patrice Evra

Published 26/06/2016 | 17:43

Shane Long of Republic of Ireland challenges Patrice Evra of France during the UEFA Euro 2016 Round of 16 match between France and Republic of Ireland at Stade des Lumieres in Lyon
Shane Long of Republic of Ireland challenges Patrice Evra of France during the UEFA Euro 2016 Round of 16 match between France and Republic of Ireland at Stade des Lumieres in Lyon

French full-back Patrice Evra has praised the Irish team after they survived a massive scare to beat Martin O'Neill's side to set up a game with either England or Iceland in the final eight.

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Antoine Griezmann scored two second half goals to send the hosts through after an enthralling game in Lyon.

Ireland were the better side in the opening half and led through Robbie Brady's second half penalty but they failed to replicate the same intensity in the second period and  the French struck.

France full-back Patrice Evra told ITV Sport: ''It was difficult, that's why I want to congratulate the Irish team because they were tough and it was a great game. They played a good tournament and all the fans and the Irish people should be proud of their team.

"We knew it would be difficult, no one game is easy in this tournament and I knew it would be difficult today and with the win I am really happy with my team-mates but as I say I congratulate all of the Irish players.

"In the first half we didn't play our football, so in the second half we said 'we are at home, we can't go out of this tournament and we should play our football with a lot of personality and try to win the game'.

''We were confident to not go out of this competition but we knew that if we had to die on the pitch, then that's what we'll do."

France advance to the last eight where they will meet either England or Iceland.

''It (England) would be a tough game again but we should stop saying it will be England, let's see," Evra added.

"They play against Iceland and they are really difficult. But if it is England it will be a special game for me because I have some great memories of English football and Manchester United.

"I played nine years there and it would be special to see some of my ex team-mates like Wazza (Wayne Rooney).''

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