23.06.2024 14:11 h

Tchouameni prefers substance over style for France at Euro 2024

France midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni says he is not concerned about criticism of the team's performances so far at Euro 2024 as the favourites stand on the brink of a place in the last 16 despite not lighting up the tournament.

"Some people want to win and do so by playing well, and others just want to win. Personally I just want to win, whether we play well or not," the Real Madrid star told reporters at the French team's base in Paderborn on Sunday.

"The most important thing is winning and getting three points because I think at the end of our careers what we will remember is what we have won, not how we played."

The 2022 World Cup runners-up go into Tuesday's final Group D game against Poland in Dortmund with four points from two outings having scored just once via an own goal while keeping two clean sheets.

They beat Austria 1-0 in their opening match after Maximilian Woeber put through his own net, and then drew 0-0 with the Netherlands in Leipzig in the absence of the injured Kylian Mbappe.

That is despite France boasting supreme attacking quality in their ranks beyond their captain.

Yet Les Bleus have often been criticised in the past for not playing more expansive football under coach Didier Deschamps.

They went on to win the 2018 World Cup after labouring through the group stage, recording a narrow 2-1 win against Australia thanks to a penalty and an own goal, then edging Peru 1-0 before a 0-0 draw against Denmark.

"In recent times we have had quite a lot of good results and won titles with this coach. That is the most important thing," Tchouameni said.

"I understand that some people want to see a team play really good football.

"Maybe we are not the team that plays the best football, but we are the ones who are most often in the latter stages and that is the main thing for me."

A draw against a Poland side who are already eliminated will be enough to secure France's last-16 place.

Mbappe could return after sitting out the Netherlands match as he recovers from a broken nose suffered against Austria and adapts to wearing a protective face mask.

"I think everyone knows he is really eager to play in the next match," Tchouameni said of his future Madrid teammate.

"As for the mask, I think he is starting to get used to it. Of course he would rather not wear it but I think if you ask the doctor he would say there is no choice.

"But that won't change anything for him. We know that when he is on the field he will bring a lot to the team."

Even a defeat against Poland might not stop France progressing, depending on the result of the other group game between Austria and the Netherlands.

However, a victory might not be enough for the French to top the group, if the Dutch win too and so by a bigger margin.