A few hours before the French team takes on Greece on Monday at the Stade de France, Robert Pires looked back on the defeat of the Blues against this team in the quarter-finals of Euro 2004, the last official match between the two teams. Recalling the quarter-final of Euro 2004, lost by France to Greece (0-1), is to relive "a bad memory." However, Robert Pires accepted the exercise, "because defeat is also part of the game." As Didier Deschamps' Blues face Greece, Pires looked back on this surprise elimination in Lisbon on June 25, 2004, almost nineteen years ago to the day.
Robert Pires Recalls Euro 2004 Quarterfinal Loss to Greece in Quarters
Asked about how the team approached the quarterfinals, he said that they had been confident since the beginning of the competition as they had finished first in their group, ahead of England. They knew they were favorites for the match but fell into the trap that the Greeks had set for them. Jacques Santini had warned them about Greece, who had already done the same against Portugal in the group stages.
Robert Pires Recalls the Match Against Greece in Euro 2004
France respected Greece's gameplay and understood that Greece played defensively and closed their space. Greece's objective was to not give any opening to Thierry Henry and defend at their best, making their gameplay very tricky. As the match progressed, the Blues realized that it was going to be difficult, and, in the end, lost to a late header by Greece's Angelos Charisteas.
France Lost to Greece at Euro 2004, and It had a Negative Impact on the Team, says Robert Pires
Looking back at the game, Pires was impressed by the Greeks' physicality, experience, and incredible defense. He recalled how Jacques Santini had put him on the right wing, which affected his gameplay. Eventually, the defeat sent a shock into the French national team, with players announcing their retirement, including Bixente Lizarazu, Lilian Thuram, Zinedine Zidane, and Claude Makelele.
Robert Pires Revisits The Impact Of Elimination Against Greece in Euro 2004 on The Future of French Football
Pires said that the elimination had a devastating effect on the French team, and it took them a while to recover. Some players retired from international football, Jacques Santini was relieved of his duty, and Raymond Domenech replaced him as the national coach, making it the worst decision for the Football Federation. After the 2004 Euros, it was a difficult period for French football that was known as a black hole.
Robert Pires Gives His Insights on France vs. Greece Clash
Pires has warned the French team to be cautious of the Greek lineup as they are physically strong and have defensive capabilities. According to Pires, the match will be played like the 2004 Euros where Greece will defend deep and not give space to the French attack. France needs to be patient and focus on the game to win.