Monday, January 30, 2023

Five France players were unfit for World Cup final, Deschamps reveals

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 7 Jan 2023

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Didier Deschamps has said five France players took part in last month’s World Cup final despite being “not up to the task” due to a lack of fitness.

Deschamps led France to a second consecutive World Cup final in Qatar before the turn of the year, but his side fell short in a penalty shoot-out against Argentina following a thrilling 3-3 draw.

Les Bleus rewarded Deschamps with a new contract, which was officially confirmed on Saturday, keeping him in place through to the 2026 World Cup.

Deschamps has now claimed several France players were unwell as a virus hit their camp ahead of the final, in which they produced a disjointed performance before Kylian Mbappe came to the fore.

Recalling the reasons for France’s defeat at a press conference after signing his new deal, Deschamps said: “Already there is the quality of the opponent, we were not surprised. On our side, on the starting team, there were four or five players who were less well physically.

“There is also an emotional side. It was the first final for some, it’s special. We didn’t exist for a good hour.

“Afterwards, we came back from nowhere. We jostled them. I don’t hide the part where there was no contest.

“In fact, there were at least five players out of the starting eleven who were not up to the task for such a match and against such an opponent.”

Despite France’s selection issues, substitutes such as Randal Kolo Muani and Marcus Thuram made a positive impact, and Deschamps puts his longevity as coach down to the quality at his disposal.

“If I’m still here, it’s thanks to the quality of the players,” Deschamps said.

“I am aware that I have a high-level pool. Other nations have it too, it is never easy. All the countries are working well.”

French Football Federation (FFF) president Noel Le Graet said persuading Deschamps to stay on had proven a simple task.

“It was not very difficult to convince Didier,” he said. “We had a number of details to look at. The four-year [contract] length seemed to be the right one.

“Our neighbours have changed [coach] a lot and have not had the expected success. We need consistency. There is a pleasure in being together.”

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