France coach Didier Deschamps knows his side must contain Cristiano Ronaldo in Sunday’s Euro 2016 final, although he admits no one has yet found a surefire way to do it.
While the host nation are certainly favourites for the title, they know that in Ronaldo, Portugal have a player capable of defying the odds.
Limiting his influence will be key, and yet Deschamps knows that is easier said than done.
“If there is an anti-Ronaldo plan, no one has yet found the recipe,” he said. “He’s a top player, he’s got great athletic attributes in the air.
“It’s not just that he can get up high, but he can hang there as well. I think his abdominal muscles, his six pack is there for a reason.
“But there are two things that are very tough to combat in football: pace and the aerial threat.
“It would be great to neutralise him, of course, but we need to be wary and limit his influence. That will be important to do.”
Sunday’s match will provide Deschamps with the chance to complete a rare and unique double – following up his Euro 2000 victory as a player with a Euro 2016 victory as a coach.
He knows much will depend on his players, however, and that their mindset heading into the match will be as important as their skills on the pitch.
“The players are obviously competitors, it is fabulous to play a European Championship and they’re doing so in France,” he said.
“They’ve done everything we’ve asked of them even though it hasn’t been simple, it has even been tough at times.
“But they never give up and that’s something clearly I’m very fond of. I don’t know, I must have been born like that.
“When it’s just sport for fun, it’s about enjoying yourself, but at top-level sport winning is what matters. There’s nothing better than winning.
“You have to accept things when that’s not the case, but before accepting that you have to do everything to try and win matches.
“Football is by no means an exact science, it comes down to very small margins, but once you’ve done everything, once you’ve given everything, people have no regrets and we’re really driven forwards by this mindset on a daily basis.”