Argentina dominated France in the first half of the World Cup final, storming to a 2-0 lead after just 36 minutes and France manager Didier Deschamps was furious with his team’s performance. He made a rare first-half double substitution – the first in a World Cup Final – at half-time.
He said: “They went right through us in the first half. We expected it, the players were warned but we had neither the attitude nor the response. We are down 2-0. It will take a lot of other things to worry them and come back in the scoreline. They [his players] have to fight. They [Argentina] really played a World Cup final.”
Deschamps was clearly impressed by Argentina’s performance, but he was equally astounded by his own team’s inability to perform on the biggest stage.
He said: “We didn’t turn up for different reasons [in the first 60 minutes]. We have had to face difficult things in the last four days. Illness and then things collectively too.”
“It gives still more regrets. At 2-0, if we take a third goal, there’s nothing to say. We haven’t done what was needed for nearly an hour. Afterwards, with lots of courage, quality too and energy, we forced them right back into the corner. And then that counts for what? One chance in the 120th minute, a shot into the goalkeeper’s feet. Then, the penalty shoot-out which is always difficult when we are not on the good side [facing the Argentina fans].”
“In this World Cup we have shown proof of lots of quality, energy. In this match, we came back from nowhere. When we come back from nowhere, when we catch up, when we touch something and it escapes us, it’s even harder to digest. But it’s like that, we have to accept it.”
Soon after the final penalty, the question of Deschamps’ future in the job he has held since the 2014 World Cup arose and France president Emmanuel Macron made his stance clear.
He said: “Didier Deschamps has shown once again that he is an immense manager. I have asked him to continue. I want him to continue. This match told us that there is never a story written in advance. Everything is possible when we stay united, if we are together, if there is desire and talent”.
“At the end we were unlucky, it’s even more annoying. But the team showed heart and unity.”