France’s captain Karim Benzema reacts during their international friendly soccer match against Brazil at the Stade de France. Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters

France suffered a serious reality check in their build-up to Euro 2016 on home soil when Brazil outclassed them in a friendly at the Stade de France (...)

Republic of Ireland winger Aiden McGeady prepares to pull the trigger against Georgia. The Everton player scored both goals in Ireland’s 2-1 victory. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Martin O’Neill admits that there is significant work to be done before his Republic of Ireland team takes on Germany in five weeks’ time with Ireland’(...)

France’s Loic Remy (right) celebrates with team mates after scoring against Spain  at the Stade de France. Photograph: Benoit Tessier / Reuters

France 1 Spain 0 New Chelsea signing Loic Remy grabbed the only goal as France squeezed past 2010 world champions Spain 1-0 in a friendly at the Stade(...)

Good job . . . Germany’s Miroslav Klose is congratulated by coach Joachim Löw after their victory over France at the Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro. Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

Whenever Joachim Löw is asked at a press conference about some episode from the past, he answers that his Germany team pays no attention to history(...)

France’s  head coach Didier Deschamps kicks a ball during a training session at the Botafogo soccer club’s Santa Cruz stadium. Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters

For a man once belittled by Eric Cantona as “a water carrier,” Didier Deschamps has certainly made a habit of carrying lots of trophies. French repor(...)

Mathieu Valbuena (left) celebrates with Olivier Giroud during the last-16 match against Nigeria at Estadio Nacional in Brasilia. Photograph: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

It says something about the state they were in that a major footballing power like France can be regarded by so many as a surprise package at this Wor(...)

Nigeria’s head coach Stephen Keshi gestures during the Group F match against Argentina at the Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre.photograph: Armando Babani/EPA

Asia may have been the biggest loser on the pitch with not one of the confederation’s four sides at this World Cup winning a game but African football(...)

Nigeria's coach Stephen Keshi cheers on his team during their 2014 World Cup round of 16 game against France at the Brasilia national stadium in Brasilia June 30, 2014. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino (BRAZIL  - Tags: SOCCER SPORT WORLD CUP)

Having been around the block a bit, Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi knows the score: when your team goes out somebody has to be blamed and having initi(...)

France’s head coach Didier Deschamps (centre) shakes hands with Nigerian players John Obi Mikel (right) and goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama (left)  at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia. Photograph: Shawn Thew / EPA

France coach Didier Deschamps is indifferent about his unbeaten World Cup record as a player and coach and is focusing only on getting his players rea(...)

France coach Didier Deschamps: “My only concern is the match against Nigeria,” he said, talking down speculation about his team’s prospects of going all the way. Photograph: Shawn Thew/EPA.

If there was an upside for Didier Deschamps to the various disasters that had befallen the French side in the years before he took charge, it was that(...)