Ribeirão Preto (Brazil) (AFP) - France's sometimes robust tackling at the World Cup was rated by defender Mamadou Sakho on Wednesday as perhaps "aggressive but not nasty".
While other sides' indiscretions in Brazil have met with often quick sanctions from referees, Didier Deschamps' quarter-finalists have largely escaped unpunished.
"When we played against Honduras we took a lot of knocks, but none of them were picked up on," the Liverpool defender told a training camp press conference.
"Our mistakes have been more clumsiness than anything else. There are lots of duels but we haven't made an enormous amount of errors.
"Perhaps we've been aggressive, but not nasty."
Tackled 24 hours earlier Deschamps had appeared mildly vexed that the issue was raised.
"The less you speak about that, the better," said the coach who has revived France's fortunes and led them to a last eight date with Germany at Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium on Friday.
"There have been other over-the-top incidents in other games. There are duels and we also have players who commit to duels.
"I'm not going to complain, but there is such an intensity and pace in matches here.
"You only have to arrive a tenth of a second too late and that'll be enough to create spectacular faults."
The Lazio midfielder had to be stretchered off while Matuidi only escaped with a caution.
"Blaise went to say sorry, but this can happen.
"I don't have the feeling we're being treated lightly (by referees)...perhaps I'd say different if I was Nigerian but I don't think this is something that influences results."
Apart from Matuidi, Sakho elbowed an Ecuadorean player in France's closing first round game, while an Olivier Giroud tackle on Steven von Bergen left the Swiss centre-back suffering concussion and a wounded under one eye. He had to return to Switzerland for treatment.