Valbuena: 'One of my best goals'
Mathieu Valbuena admitted his strike that sparked a France fightback to win in Italy will go down as one of his very best, as Les Bleus coach Didier Deschamps toasted the perfect end to the year for his side.
Italy 1-2 France
Didier Deschamps (France coach): "Last month we drew in Spain, and now we have beaten the European Championship finalists. That is not nothing. We were very timid in the first 20 minutes, lacking rhythm and aggression. Italy were more mobile and moved better. It took the concession of the goal to start playing the way I wanted us to, to go and win the ball further up the pitch. The second half was end to end. There were lots of changes. Italy could have equalised but we also had two chances to increase our lead. I am really happy with the attitude shown by my players. Those who came off the bench made the difference, just as was the case in our last match. It was very good for our last match of the year."
Bafétimbi Gomis (Lyon and France striker on his winning goal): "I saw Patrice Evra getting ready to shoot. I had a similar situation at Le Havre (against Uruguay in August) but I didn't take it because the ball was a bit behind me. This time I threw myself at it and scored. I am happy for the squad as a whole and for myself because I hadn't scored in blue for a while. Four years is a long time for a striker. We were courageous and gave everything. The win will give us a major confidence boost. It was important to continue in the same vein after the Spain game."
Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille and France midfielder): "At my goal, I found myself in a position that I love, and I said to myself that I was going to try and score. I dribbled round (Marco) Verratti, came inside, found a bit of space and sent it towards the far post. I got lucky but it was what I intended to do. It is one of my best goals, and one of the most moving because it came for my country, against Italy, and from a position where I had never played before for France. The coach has shown faith in me, the other players too. I don't know if I have scored points tonight, but I am ambitious, I get on well with the coach, he has put me in a position where I have played for OM since the start of the season."
Cesare Prandelli (Italy coach): "It was the right thing to do to try out some new players, and we will do so again. We shouldn't speculate too much after this result. We did some good things, even if some things will need to be improved upon. (Stephan) El-Shaarawy and (Mario) Balotelli worked well together, they are both generous players."
Salvatore Sirigu (PSG and Italy goalkeeper): "It is a defeat but it is nothing serious, it was a friendly. We are in the process of growing as a team with players who haven't played much at international level. France caused us problems on the counterattack."