Tuesday, July 23, 2024

´If you´re bored, watch something else´ – Deschamps unmoved by France criticism

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 8 Jul 2024

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Didier Deschamps is unperturbed by criticism of France’s style of play at Euro 2024, telling the team’s critics not to bother watching Les Bleus if they are bored.

France are preparing for their fourth semi-final in six tournaments under Deschamps, with Spain standing between them and a place in Sunday’s final in Berlin.

Despite Les Bleus finding themselves in contention at the business end of yet another tournament, they have been fiercely criticised after failing to hit top form in attack.

Four goals have been scored in their five matches at the tournament (three for, one against), with all of them either being own goals (two) or penalties (two).

France are the only team on record at a European Championship (since 1980) to have 50 or more non-penalty shots and fail to score any of them (86), with Kylian Mbappe’s spot-kick versus Poland in the group stage the only goal scored by a Bleus player thus far.

Ahead of Tuesday’s meeting with a Spain team regarded as the most enterprising at the tournament, Deschamps was asked by a Swedish reporter what he made of the criticism France have faced.

“If you’re bored, watch something else! You don’t have to watch us,” Deschamps replied.

“It’s a special Euros, where it has been very difficult for everyone. The number of goals is much lower than it has been in the past.

“We have the ability to share emotions, to make the French people happy with the results we have been able to achieve, in a complicated period in France.

“If the Swedes are bored, it doesn’t matter too much to me.”

Euro 2024 has seen an average of 2.25 goals per game ahead of the semi-finals (108 in 48 matches), the sixth-lowest figure in history after the 1968 (1.4), 1980 (1.93), 1996 (2.06), 2016 (2.18) and 1992 (2.13) editions.

France’s struggles in attack can be at least partly attributed to Mbappe’s disrupted tournament. He missed Les Bleus’ second group game after suffering a broken nose in their opener and has struggled for form since returning to the team.

At Euro 2020 and Euro 2024 combined, he has scored just one goal from 34 attempts with a 3% conversion rate. At the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, he netted 12 times from 39 shots (31%).

Deschamps feels Mbappe is getting stronger as the tournament progresses, though.

“We did everything we could to make sure he recovered, I’m convinced that he’s been at his best level possible since the start,” he said of the Real Madrid forward.

“It’s not just related to the last game, everything he had before, with the end of the season, a back problem, the trauma he had. The tournament could have ended for him.

“He has a new situation, wearing a mask leads to having modified vision. It was a big shock, we had to digest it. He will do everything to be at the maximum.”

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