Didier Deschamps rues 'cruel' defeat 'because we were so close'

France coach Didier Deschamps said the way his team lost Sunday's World Cup final against Argentina was "cruel" after they came from behind twice over the course of the game only to succumb in a penalty shoot-out.

"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," said Deschamps after France failed in their bid to become the first team in 60 years to retain the trophy.

Kylian Mbappe scored twice in two minutes late on in Doha to cancel out Argentina's two-goal lead and force extra time, in which he scored again from a penalty to complete his hat-trick and make it 3-3 after Lionel Messi had put the opposition back in front.

Randal Kolo Muani was then denied a last-gasp winner by goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, and Argentina won the shoot-out 4-2, with France's Kingsley Coman seeing his penalty saved and Aurelien Tchouameni missing the target.

"We had a chance to win the World Cup in the last minute but it wasn't to be," Deschamps said. "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."

Deschamps suggested that the virus which laid low several of his players in the run-up to the final was partly to blame for their poor performance over the first hour.

"There were many reasons which explained why we were not as good. Several important players had less energy but bringing on younger players with less experience but plenty of freshness and quality allowed us to keep dreaming. But unfortunately the dream did not come true."

Adrien Rabiot and Dayot Upamecano both returned after missing the semi-final win over Morocco due to illness. Raphael Varane started having missed training on Friday with cold-like symptoms but the sluggish performance of Deschamps' team for long spells suggested others were also struggling.

"The whole squad had had to face up to a difficult situation. Did that have a physical or psychological impact? Maybe, I don't know," said Deschamps, who had hoped to become the first coach to win two World Cups since Italy's Vittorio Pozzo in the 1930s. "I wasn't worried for the players who started, but maybe it was just the matches catching up with us, and we had four days to prepare, one day fewer than them. These are not excuses but we were not as dynamic as we had been and that was why it was practically not a contest for an hour."

With his team trailing 2-0 at halftime, Deschamps said he had been so angry in the locker room that he hurt a finger, which was covered with a plaster as he spoke to reporters.

"I lost a bit of my finger at halftime. 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."


© Agence France-Presse

8 comments about "Didier Deschamps rues 'cruel' defeat 'because we were so close'".
  1. Randy Vogt, December 19, 2022 at 8:02 a.m.

    The first coach to win two World Cups since Italy's Vittorio Pozzo in the 1930s was Jill Ellis with the USWNT in 2015 and 2019.

  2. R2 Dad, December 19, 2022 at 9:14 a.m.

    How about France lost because the manager was outsmarted? Deschamps got his tactics and lineup all wrong; the Giroud AND Dembele subs before the half were admittance of that fact. But apparently no one else agrees; I haven't read anything but praise.

  3. frank schoon replied, December 19, 2022 at 10:29 a.m.

    R2, he was out-coached, no doubt, good point you make.

  4. Santiago 1314 replied, December 19, 2022 at 12:13 p.m.

    I'm not sure about Out Coached; As Far as the Early Sub Situation...
    He Brought on 2 Subs, but he didn't Change Formations or Tactixs, so that generally means "Player Error" ... And nothing going into that game would say: DON'T start Giroud and Dembelle...
    I think what he got Wrong, from the Beginning, was Not having an Overlapping Rt Back, that would have Forced DiMaria to play Defense (Which we all Know, her doesn't do very Well)
    I don't think Argentina would have Done as well Offensively, Especially DiMaria, if they had to try to Defend with 9, Because Messi wasn't going to play any Defense either. 

    Other thing Deschamps got Wrong; (And something I've Never Understood about Defending against Messi) Why Not play a 3-3-3 or 4-3-2 versus Argentina(Farca).????
    But Sant;??? Your Missing a Player.!!!
    Yes, Because I'm Taking my Quickest, Most Tenacious Defender and I'm playing him Man-To-Man ALL OVER THE PITCH, THE NATIONAL ANTHEMS, THE TUNNEL, THE LOCKER ROOM, THE PARKING LOT, THE BUS, THE HOTEL.!!!
    I'LL PLAY YOU 10v10.... Sounds like a Fair Trade Off to Me.!?!?!?

  5. Ben Myers replied, December 19, 2022 at 3:27 p.m.

    Argentina played much faster than France from the opening kickoff. A srating squad with all the speedsters brought on might have been more appropriate.  So, yes, Scaloni showed himself again as a fine coach with his initial choice of 26, match tactics, and selection of players to be on the pitch at the right time. Anyone else notice Dybala as a last minute substitution, nailing a PK shortly after?  

  6. frank schoon, December 19, 2022 at 10:34 a.m.

    IT IS TIME FOR ZIDANE TO COACH FRANCE. We need  to get back to enjoying soccer and how it should be played...When you have this much talent and you play soccer like a wet newspaper, it's time for something new.....

  7. Perry McIntyre, December 19, 2022 at 3:24 p.m.

    One glaring coaching error I noticed was the absence of proven penalty takers on the pitch at the end. This underscores the mistake of starting, then removing, some of his most proven PK takers. Perhaps the team-wide illness tied Deschamps' hands somewhat in his selection, but having Giroud, Griezmann, and Dembele available for PKs would have been a better strategy, IMHO.

  8. Santiago 1314 replied, December 20, 2022 at 12:54 a.m.

    Agreed .. .!!!

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