The winners of the 2018 World Cup throw away a two-goal lead late in the last 16 before finally getting loose in a penalty shootout.
Didier Deschamps is prepared to take the blame for France’s Euro 2020 failures, while the reigning world champions have suffered a shock defeat in the last 16 against Switzerland in a match they dominated.
Les Bleus, who wanted to add a continental crown to the world champions they secured in 2018, was slackening in the quarter-finals when he had a 3-1 lead over the Swiss, with nine minutes of play left.
However, they had a late collapse, with an unrecognizable capitulation completed when Kylian Mbappe hit his lines off the spot and a penalty kick was confirmed.
What was said?
He speaks for the first time since seeing his team slip out of a major international tournament that many expected them to win, Deschamps said The team: ‘The hardest part to digest – and I’m just doing it – is knowing what we can do and seeing what we’ve done.
‘And I say it again, to take a 3-1 lead against Switzerland in the 80th minute and see what happened next …
“Firmness has always been our DNA. At 3-3, there is necessarily nervousness, but anything remains possible.
‘There is an opportunity to [Kingsley] Coman and the ball hitting the bar. You have to be realistic. At 3-1, not a single person in the stadium or elsewhere would have said we did not qualify.
“I do not want to apologize. I know I am the only one in charge. If everything goes well, everything is not rosy, and if it goes bad, everything is not black either.
“Our elimination is related to many elements. It is my responsibility. The initial tactical choice did not work. Making three changes is not a mistake, it is a choice. I know what led me to it.”
Should Benzema have stayed?
Karim Benzema, Real Madrid’s goal scorer, who was brought back from the international wilderness for Euro 2020, helped get France in control against Switzerland with two good goals.
However, he was replaced by Olivier Giroud in the extra time and was not on the field to take a penalty kick in the match.
Deschamps asked if he was sorry, adding: “Karim had nothing to do with it. Everything he had to do did it very well.
‘I had to change the team for different reasons. I know this is not an ideal scenario.
“I could have done things differently, yes. But we were 3-1 ahead in the 80th minute. Neither he nor I can go back.”