Antoine Griezmann is struggling to get to grips with “cruel and magnificent” Euro 2016, but pledged France will kick on after the exasperating extra-time loss to Portugal.
Didier Deschamps’ men have united a country at a difficult time and were fancied to follow in the footsteps of the classes of 1984 and 1998 by making home advantage count.
However, Portugal broke French hearts at the Stade de France on Sunday, upsetting the apple cart as substitute Eder’s extra-time effort from distance secured a 1-0 win.
“It’s cruel and magnificent at the same time,” Griezmann said after the final.
“We’ve lived through some extraordinary moments, and the saddest moments as well. We have to learn.
But tonight we gave it all and we have no regrets. I’m proud of the squad, proud of everybody. Now we have to come back stronger.
“This time we didn’t manage it, unlike against Germany. It is a pity.
“We hit the post, I had chances as well and I almost scored. The goalkeeper played well, too. It’s frustrating, but we must come back stronger.”
Griezmann, just like his team-mates and compatriots, looked crushed after falling at the final hurdle.
It felt particularly harsh on the Atletico Madrid attacker having shone so bright during the tournament, netting six goals en route to the final.
Griezmann sheepishly collected the Golden Boot in the post-match press conference – an impressive achievement but one overshadowed by defeat.
“Maybe later I can feel proud, but for now, it’s about the group,” he said, having also provided two assists during Euro 2016.
I’m very disappointed for my team-mates. I really wanted to offer them this trophy, but I couldn’t score and I’m disappointed.”