France boss bemoans ‘lack of energy’


Deschamps said his decision to substitute forwards Olivier Giroud and Ousmane Dembele before halftime was purely tactical…reports Asian Lite News

France manager Didier Deschamps said his players suffered from a “lack of energy” in the team’s penalty shootout defeat to Argentina in the World Cup final here on Sunday.

Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria struck first-half goals to give Argentina a 2-0 lead at Lusail Stadium but two late goals from Kylian Mbappe forced the match into extra time. Messi restored Argentina’s advantage in the 108th minute before Mbappe scored a late penalty as the game went to a penalty shootout.

Aurelien Tchouameni and Kingsley Coman failed to convert shootout attempts for France as Argentina lifted the trophy for the first time since 1986.

“We were facing a strong opponent and also lacked a bit of energy from some of our key players,” Deschamps was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency. “But some of our younger players came on and brought freshness and quality. They kept the dream alive but at the end we couldn’t complete that dream.”

The comments follow reports that several France players were hit by a mystery virus before the match. Deschamps did not confirm which of his squad members had been affected, saying only that those who started Sunday’s game were fully fit and healthy.

“The whole of the squad has been facing a tricky situation,” he said. “Maybe that had a physical and psychological impact. I had no concerns about the players who started the match tonight. They were 100 per cent fit but we only had four days to rest after the semifinal (against Morocco) so there is some tiredness perhaps.

“That’s not an excuse. We just didn’t have the same energy as we did in previous games. That’s why for the first hour or so we just weren’t in the match.”

Deschamps said his decision to substitute forwards Olivier Giroud and Ousmane Dembele before halftime was purely tactical.

“I wanted to make a change because I saw that we lacked energy,” he said. “I’m not blaming Giroud or Dembele. They put in a great effort. I just saw they were not 100 per cent and we were also able to bring Kylian (Mbappe) in from the wing.

“Basically we weren’t in great shape tonight and, physically speaking, we lacked that little extra you need when playing a strong team.”


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