- Les Bleus trailed at the break
- Mbappe hit a hat-trick
- Spot-kick heartache endured
WHAT HAPPENED? Les Bleus found themselves trailing 2-0 at the interval against the Albiceleste in Qatar, with the defending champions barely laying a glove on Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria and Co. during the opening 45 minutes. Deschamps was so upset by the performance of his players, having already substituted Olivier Giroud and Ousmane Dembele, that an angry team talk led to him injuring his thumb – with a bandage being sported when collecting a runners-up medal afterwards.
WHAT THEY SAID: Deschamps told reporters: “I lost a bit of my finger at half-time. That happens to me sometimes — you have to cause a few ripples and try to turn things around. We were not at our best physically and it happened against a team who were playing a World Cup final. I didn’t get the impression that we were.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: France did respond in the second-half, with Kylian Mbappe netting a hat-trick as a thrilling game finished 3-3 after extra-time, but Argentina held their nerve in a penalty shootout to leave Les Bleus licking their wounds. Deschamps added: “We were not as good in the first 60 minutes against top-quality opponents who had a lot more energy, but we came back from nowhere and turned the game around from a very difficult situation. That leaves us with even more regrets. We had a chance to win the World Cup in the last minute but it wasn’t to be. At 2-0 there would not have been the same regrets, you just say ‘bravo’ to them. I don’t want to take any merit away from Argentina but there were lots and lots of emotions and it was cruel at the end because we were so close.”
IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT? Messi ultimately stole the show at the World Cup, as he collected a first global crown and a history-making second Golden Ball. France are now mulling over changes on and off the field as Deschamps ponders whether to stay on as coach. Zinedine Zidane has been heavily linked with taking over.