Euro 2012: France must improve for Spain, Laurent Blanc

France manager Laurent Blanc has warned his side they will need to improve if they are to stand a chance against Spain in the Euro 2012 quarter-finals.

Blanc was speaking after his side lost 2-0 to Sweden in a defeat which meant they finished as runners-up in Group D behind England.

"You have to be optimistic to think we can beat Spain, but it's hard right now to imagine we can," said Blanc.

"We have to do better," added Blanc, whose side meet Spain in Donetsk.

Analysis

"This is a hammer blow for France. Laurent Blanc is thinking 2010 all over again. I know they are in the quarter-finals but he doesn't fancy going in against the Spanish with this team and this attitude. There are big, big problems. It is always about attitude with the French. In the end, I think the French got away with only losing 2-0."

"We wanted to finish top of the group but couldn't manage it, so we have to deal with that."

Spain are European and world champions but Les Bleus were the last side to beat them at a major tournament when France won in the last 16 of the 2006 World Cup.

France may also draw comfort from the fact that Spain have not been as convincing as their tournament wins at Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup.

But, if France are to take advantage they will also have to improve on their latest showing against Sweden as they lost their first game in 24 internationals.

Sweden had already been eliminated after defeats by Ukraine and England but goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Sebastian Larsson gave them victory.

"Sweden played this match with its heart," said Blanc, who will be without central defender Philippe Mexes against Spain after he picked up a second yellow card of the competition.

"Physically, they were better prepared and [in Ibrahimovic] they had a player in the team who made the difference, which makes a hell of a difference.

"We are really disappointed by this result but we were in trouble throughout the match. When you lose a match, it is because you have not got the right team out there.

"Therefore, if I were to start it all over, we would not start with the same team."

Sweden beat France in a competitive game for the first time since 1969.

"It's mixed emotions right now," said Sweden coach Erik Hamren.

"We should be happy with the victory and the performance. But at the same time there's a sense of sadness in us all because we would have wanted to stick around a bit longer."

Ibrahimovic added: "We have a good team but on a personal and individual level we have room for improvement.

[Against France] we wanted to give our fans a present - in this atmosphere we felt as if we were playing at home."