France manager Didier Deschamps admits his virus-affected players ‘didn’t show up’ in first half


France coach Didier Deschamps admitted his players “didn’t show up” and didn’t have the “right attitude” during the first half of their World Cup final defeat to Argentina.

Eventual World Cup winners went two up at half-time thanks to Lionel Messi’s penalty in the first half and Angel di Maria’s goal in the 36th minute, as France struggled to gain a foothold in the game.

The reigning champions were out of rhythm until the 80th minute, when Kylian Mbappe hit a rapid-fire brace in 95 seconds to save the game for France and force extra time.

Didier Deschamps admitted his players ‘didn’t show up’ in the first half against Argentina

Argentina claimed their first World Cup win since 1986 as they beat France 4-2 on penalties

Argentina claimed their first World Cup win since 1986 as they beat France 4-2 on penalties

Les Bleus fell behind again in the 108th minute before Mbappé’s second penalty of the game 10 minutes later gave the Frenchman a hat-trick and took Argentina to a penalty shoot-out.

Despite being hot on Argentina’s heels and only narrowly missing out on the World Cup trophy on penalties, Deschamps admitted that France ‘didn’t show up at all’ in the first half, costing them the game.

He said: ‘We didn’t show up at all in the 1st half. We expected (their intensity), we had neither the right attitude nor the right answer.

After a dismal start for France, Kylian Mbappe scored twice in 95 seconds to force extra time

After a dismal start for France, Kylian Mbappe scored twice in 95 seconds to force extra time

The Argentinian players celebrate after beating Les Blues 4-2 in the penalty shootout

The Argentinian players celebrate after beating Les Blues 4-2 in the penalty shootout

“It takes a lot to make them worry and come back. They really play a World Cup final.’

The French camp was hit by a virus ahead of the final, as Adrien Rabiot, Dayot Upamecano and Kingsley Coman were forced to miss the semi-final against Morocco due to illness.

The trio each recovered to play in the final, although Coman missed a crucial penalty for France in the shoot-out.

ITV pundit Gary Neville singled out Ousmane Dembele at half-time, describing his defense as ’embarrassing’ after conceding Argentina’s penalty against Angel di Maria.

Dembélé, who was knocked out just before half-time after his poor performance in the first half, naively slit Di Maria’s ankles as he stormed into the penalty area.

Deschamps had to settle for a second medal despite his side's recovery from 2-0

Deschamps had to settle for a second medal despite his side’s recovery from 2-0

Gary Neville criticized Ousmane Dembele's 'pathetic' defense against Argentina at half-time

Gary Neville criticized Ousmane Dembele’s ‘pathetic’ defense against Argentina at half-time

Neville said, “It was pathetic. To be fair, Di Maria’s position, his selection – well done to the Argentina manager. Brilliant selection, it stretched Kounde and stretched that French team. Mac Allister was in that pocket, Messi played a little to the right.

“But the penalty, I must say, Dembele – I know he is a wide player – but honestly. What he’s doing with this first challenge, you know what Di Maria is going to do, he’s been doing this for 10 years. It’s humiliating.

“And I’m torn by this one. First of all, I think it’s a soft penalty to give you a goal at the World Cup, but also the stupidity of it when you go in the wrong direction, you almost deserve to be discovered and Dembele is discovered.’

The French star conceded a crucial penalty when Angel di Maria skipped past him on the left flank

The French star conceded a crucial penalty when Angel di Maria skipped past him on the left flank

Dembélé and Oliver Giroud were eliminated before the break after their mediocre performances

Dembélé and Oliver Giroud were eliminated before the break after their mediocre performances

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