Ol is well

A-      A+

STRIKER Olivier Giroud insists France have learnt their lesson from losing the Euro 2016 final on home soil and will fight for each other against Croatia to ensure there is no repeat.

Giroud started the final at Stade de France two years ago but was replaced by Andre-Pierre Gignac late in the second half.

Unfancied Portugal, who lost influential skipper Cristiano Ronaldo to injury early in the match, walked away with the title after substitute Eder struck with 11 minutes to go in extratime.

France will again be favourites tomorrow following their 1-0 semifinal win over Belgium.

Giroud, 31, believes Les Bleus are more mature now and their much improved team spirit will take them to a second world title.

“After beating Germany in the semifinal (in 2016), we were a bit euphoric. Against Belgium it was different,” Giroud told reporters.

“We know we still have one game to win. There’s that real focus and concentration to finish the job.

“You can’t win a World Cup on just talent. You need efficiency. Mental strength is 70 per cent of the job.

“If you’re ready to work for your teammates and each other with dedication and commitment, anything can happen.”

The Chelsea attacker is yet to score in Russia, but is happy with his role within the team, which he believes helps create a more balanced lineup.

“Against Belgium I missed efficiency and luck but hopefully I can have them in the final,” he said.

“I’m doing a good World Cup, I’ve assisted three goals, I’m committed and the workrate every player puts in is important.”

Will he be happy if he finishes goalless but France emerge triumphant?

“If one goal has to come, hopefully it’ll be in the final,” said Giroud.

“If we’re world champions and I don’t score, I’m okay with that.

“We’ve come a long way and don’t want to waste this opportunity now.”
— Agencies