Most of France’s players received dismal scores out of 10 for their display against Switzerland, which was labelled a “mess” as they crashed out of the tournament
France have been torn to shreds by their national media as popular publication L’Equipe dished out some withering player ratings following their Euro 2020 exit.
Despite coming from behind to lead Switzerland 3-1 with 10 minutes to spare, the reigning world champions somehow managed to end the match all square with their underdog opponents.
Mario Gavranovic’s 90th-minute strike took the game to extra time before the dreaded penalty shootout saw French superstar Kylian Mbappe’s decisive spot kick saved by Yann Sommer.
The result comes as a huge shock as Switzerland progress to the quarter-finals to face Spain while France were eliminated from the last 16.
And L’Equipe didn’t hold back in their assessment of their nation’s efforts, handing three players two-star ratings while Mbappe escaped with a disappointing four.
Pool via REUTERS)
Defensive trio Benjamin Pavard, Clement Lenglet and Presnel Kimpembe were the unfortunate victims for the outlet’s criticism, each scoring two – marginally behind Manchester United transfer target Raphael Varane on three.
While the Swiss did mount a remarkable comeback, they could well have been home and dry before then were it not for Ricardo Ridriguez’s penalty miss in normal time.
It was Pavard who was the culprit on that occasion, scything down Steven Zuber in the box, though his blushes were spared by goalkeeper Hugo Lloris’s solid save down to his right.
France had looked suspect at the back for much of the tournament and were already behind thanks to Haris Seferovic’s header after some shoddy marking.
Thankfully for Les Bleus, they did have some top performers in their ranks, as an impressive brace from Karim Benzema hauled them back in front before a spectacular long-range curling strike from Paul Pogba looked to have put the tie to bed.
Benzema was given the standout rating by L’Equipe, scoring eight, while Pogba was given just six despite playing superbly for much of the contest.
But pundit Gary Neville was not impressed by Pogba either, telling ITV: “We saw the best and the worst of him in the second half.
“This is the best of him, absolutely world class strike. Brilliant.
Pool via REUTERS)
“At this point in the game, he’d played a great pass through just before that, he was starting to get into the game, combining, he was running the game.
“When your team is on top, he’s absolutely outstanding.”
Before adding: “He takes risks on the ball, but you want those risks to be in the final third, not in the defensive third, and they get counter-attacked on.”
France’s selection had raised a few eyebrows anyway, after boss Didier Deschamps opted to play a wing-back system due to injuries and shunting Adrien Rabiot into an unfamiliar role wide left.
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As it happened, Rabiot scored a respectable five, along with N’Golo Kante and Antoine Griezmann.
The main talking point was Mbappe, though, as the 22-year-old prodigy failed to find his shooting boots, spurning some great chances to end the tournament without a goal, before fluffing his lines in the shootout.
Lloris perhaps should have done better with one spot kick, failing to keep out Manuel Akanji’s strike when he got a hand to it, but earned a seven for his overall contribution.
But defeat was no less than France deserved in Neville’s book, as he unleashed a scathing verdict of their display.
“I think it was a mess for France tonight, from the first minute,” Neville said.
“They thought they could turn up, be complacent, I felt the way they set up in their system was all wrong, the players didn’t have a clue in the first half what they were doing.
“That was four out of their starting back five, don’t be fooled by their injuries at left-back, that’s one position. They were a mess.”
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