West Ham United midfielder Dimitri Payet has credited France success to the ability of the team to defend as a unit as they progressed into the round of 16 of the competition.
The former Marseille star played a key role as France topped Group A with seven points after beating Romania and Albania, while playing out a scoreless draw with Switzerland.
The Les Bleus have not conceded in all three games they’ve played so far with Payet contributing two of the four goals the Euro 2016 hosts have scored in the competition.
“We’ve got a good defence and it’s not just the back four. We’ve reached a new level in defence,” the West Ham star said on Monday.
“These defensive efforts weigh on our freshness, but I’d rather not concede a goal and score one in the 90th minute than concede two or three and have to go and score three or four.
“Because there is not a big gap between the teams, it’s hard to score three or more goals.”
Payet is looking forward to playing on a better surface to what France were exposed in their first three group games in Paris, Marseille and Lille.
“Because of that, we could not always play the way we wanted. But we know that in Lyon it will be better,” the 29-year-old added.
France finished as the top team in Group A and will play the third-placed team from either Group C, D or E in Lyon on June 26.