By Nick Callow
Paul Pogba has hit back at spectators who booed France and Denmark players before, during and after the first goalless draw of the World Cup.
The Manchester United midfielder was rested by French coach Didier Deschamps to ensure he did not receive another booking and be suspended for their last 16 tie with Argentina.
But Pogba was not impressed with the reaction of the 78,000 crowd to the draw of convenience which ensured both sides went through at a Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium in which neutrals vastly outnumbered fans of the two teams.
He said: “We need fans, not spectators. I don’t know if the boos only came from the French fans.
“People wanted more spectacle. We need everyone with us. Our fans are the 12th man.
“Our objective was to finish top of the group. It should be the objective of everyone. I don’t know what people expect, that we win 10-0 or 5-0. The most important was the qualification and we did it.”
Topping their group means France face a titanic weekend tie against Argentina, which could possibly be easier, though less alluring, than Denmark's task against in-form Croatia.
The French stuttered through with after narrow wins over Peru and Australia before the bore draw of what has otherwise been a thrilling tournament.
Like Pogba, that does not bother fellow France midfielder N'Golo Kante.
The Chelsea man, who was voted man of the match against Denmark, said: “I didn't really hear the booing. I think it was more about the tempo of this game after the last two matches and I didn't think it was against us.
“We can do better offensively but defensively we didn't give away many chances and this is good to keep for the next game. This should give us confidence for the next game.
“We have a good squad, good players. We fight for wins again and if we analyse the three games we just conceded one goal and scored twice.
“It's down to the manager to say how we're going to play [against Argentina], but I don't expect we'll change for the next game.”