Domenech 'hurt' by defeat

Coach bemused by French failings

Raymond Domenech has revealed his pain at seeing France slump to a 4-1 defeat against Holland.

Les Bleus had entered Euro 2008 among the pre-tournament favourites, but have just a solitary point to show for their efforts in their first two matches.

They would have preferred to avoid the so-called 'Group of Death', but would still have fancied their chances of negotiating a route to the quarter-finals.

A lacklustre opening performance against Romania did not bode well and against the Dutch in Berne they suffered a dramatic collapse.

Once Dirk Kuyt opened the scoring inside 10 minutes they were always up against it and, despite a second-half consolation from Thierry Henry, further goals from Robin Van Persie, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder put the seal on a convincing victory for Marco Van Basten's side.

France must now beat World Champions Italy in their remaining Group C fixture if they are to keep their European Championship dreams alive.

"Really this hurts," Domenech said.

"Our defence was always our strength. We were unlucky at times. But they have quality and we were missing something.

"We were not efficient and that has been our recurring problem for a while now. You can't do much about that.

"Every time we came back into the match they scored, and that's what killed us."


However, Domenech is refusing to give up hope just yet and is convinced that his side can get the required result against Italy next Tuesday.

"As long as our destiny is in our own hands we can go through," he said.

"We must not give in. We must play a high-level match we are capable of against the Italians."

Henry could take little comfort from his first goal at Euro 2008 and is already looking forward to becoming reacquainted with their Italian counterparts.

"It's a shame," he said.

"At 2-1 we could have given them cause to doubt, but they got their third right from the restart. Now we have to go out and beat Italy."