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R. Varane

Varane 'very proud' of France despite World Cup final loss but admits Les Bleus 'weren't in the match for an hour'

7:51 PM GMT 18/12/2022
Raphael Varane of France
Raphael Varane says he is "very proud" of France's World Cup final display even though he admits that they "weren't in the game" for the first hour.
  • Argentina 2-0 up until 80 mins
  • France took final to penalties
  • Argentina crowned world champions

WHAT HAPPENED? The France and Manchester United centre-back still has pride in his team despite losing the World Cup final to Argentina on penalties. Varane was correct in saying that France were absent from the match for an hour as Argentina dominated proceedings, leading 2-0 up until the 80th minute when Kylian Mbappe scored two goals in as many minutes.

Lionel Messi scored a close-range effort in extra time to put his side 3-2 but France fought back yet again, with Mbappe becoming the first player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final since Sir Geoff Hurst in 1966. Argentina then went on to win 4-2 on penalties.

WHAT THEY SAID: "We are very disappointed of course, we gave everything. We had to face a lot of obstacles during the competition, we gave up nothing. For an hour, we weren't in the match. We could have won too, I'm very proud of this group and of being French. We keep our heads up," he said after the game.

"We came back into this match when it was complicated, was played very quickly, then physically we were better. We pushed and we believed until the end. We almost overturned the match, which started badly. The course was winding but there was mental strength in this group, a lot of heart. This allowed us to come back in this match. We are disappointed but also proud."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: France had the opportunity to become the first team to retain the World Cup since Brazil in 1962 but were ultimately beaten by Messi and co. Argentina are now World Cup champions, having lifted the trophy for the first time since Diego Maradona did in 1986.

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WHAT NEXT FOR FRANCE? Didier Deschamps now has the unenviable task of picking his France squad up after losing a World Cup final. Leaders on and off the pitch like Varane will be needed if they're to compete in the coming years.