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France captain Marcel Desailly has leapt to the defence of embattled coach Roger Lemerre, claiming that the coach should not be held responsible if France are knocked out of the competition tormorrow.

France face Denmark in a must-win match for the holders and failure to reach the last 16 is bound to lead to calls for Lemerre to resign.

However, Desailly believes that the players must share respponsibility for such a failure.

“The responsibility ofa coach is always seen as minimal when the team wins, but after a defeat people call for heads to roll and the finger always points at the coach,” Desailly said.

“But if the French team fails tomorrow, it will be a collective failure.”

“It will not be the end of an era because there are young players in attack and defence,” Desailly added. “It will just be a one-off failure and the fault of the whole team.”

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