Patrice Evra has urged his France team-mates to “wake-up” – or risk becoming Iceland’s latest giant-killing victims.
Juventus defender Evra claims England were guilty of underestimating their Euro 2016 conquerors in last Monday’s knockout tie, and says Les Bleus must be on red-alert for Sunday’s quarter-final.
The tournament’s host nation needed late goals to see off group foes Romania and also Albania as well as a second-half fightback against Republic of Ireland in the round of 16, but are still red-hot favourites to knock out Iceland.
Ex-Manchester United full-back Evra said: “Physically we’re in a good place, even if we’re snatching wins late in the game every time.
“I just think we’re really crazy… that’s what we said when we won the other day (against the Irish). But the further you go in a tournament, the harder it gets.
“We need to be wary because, if we carry on like this, at some point we won’t turn it round late on. That could be against Iceland.
“We have to wake up earlier in games. We’re not starting matches well enough and end up having to react rather than being more proactive. This team has tended to respond when its backs are against the wall, but our luck will run out if we carry on like that. We need to attack this game and not wait to react.
“We have to have confidence in our football, so my message would be: Play without pressure.
“Yes, this game on Sunday is important, because we have to reach the semi-finals. It won’t be easy, but we’re at home and all of us, the players and the manager, want to achieve something big here.
“We reached the quarter-finals in Brazil [at the World Cup two years ago, before losing 1-0 to eventual winners Germany ]. Here we want to go further.”