Sagnol: France needs winners

Former international Willy Sagnol is determined to develop a new breed of France player as they seek to end their recent woes in major tournaments.

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Since their back-to-back triumphs in the 1998 World Cup, on home soil, and Euro 2000, Les Bleus have three times been eliminated in the group stage of major championships.

Reaching the 2006 World Cup final, where they lost on penalties to Italy after Zinedine Zidane's sending-off, was an isolated success and they exited this year's European Championship at the quarter-final stage to eventual champions Spain.

Sagnol, who called time on his playing career in 2009 due to injury, now acts as team manager overseeing Les Bleus' youth teams from under-15 level up to France Espoirs, their under-21 side.

And he told France Football: "We need winners. That is what is lacking in French culture generally, and it's not easy to develop.

"While you can improve a player's technical ability and help him evolve, it is hard to change the mentality.

"Once they are in a high-level structure, that must be mandatory, it must have the same importance as technical education."



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