Didier Deschamps refused to confirm whether he’ll stay on as France manager after their devastating penalty shootout defeat to Argentina in the World Cup final.
Kylian Mbappe’s scintillating hat-trick had dragged Deschamps’ side to the brink of a second World Cup triumph in four years, but they were unable to best Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez from 12 yards out.
The Aston Villa keeper saved Kingsley Coman’s penalty before Aurelien Tchouameni dragged his effort wide of the post – the 21-year-old having fetched the ball from outside of the penalty area after Martinez threw it away to play mind games.
Gonzalo Montiel then sent Hugo Lloris the wrong way to seal a 4-2 win on penalties for Argentina, who lifted the World Cup for the first time since 1986.
For Deschamps, who has been in charge of France for a decade, it was a bitter pill to swallow, particularly after Mbappe had fired his side back into the game after sustained dominance from Argentina.
But the 54-year-old said it was too early to discuss his future when asked after the game, telling reporters: “Even if we had won, I wouldn’t have been able to answer that question tonight.”
He added of France’s performance on the night: “The whole squad has been facing a tricky situation for a while now. Maybe that had a physical or psychological impact. But I had no concerns about the players who started the match: they were 100% fit.
“We only had four days since the last match so there was some tiredness, perhaps. That’s not an excuse, we just didn’t have the same energy as in the previous match and that’s why, for the first hour or so, we weren’t in the match.
“They were tactical choices,” Deschamps then confirmed when asked about the first half substitutions of Ousmane Dembele and Olivier Giroud. “I wanted to make a change because I saw we lacked freshness and energy.
“I just saw they were not 100 per cent and there was a change in positions slightly as well, bringing Kylian [Mbappe] out from the wing, because I saw that we were in deep trouble.”