Tuesday , July 16 2024

‘Boring’ France back struggling attack to fire against Spain


France coach Didier Deschamps hit back at allegations his side had reached Tuesday’s Euro 2024 semi-final against Spain playing “boring” football despite failing to score a goal from open play.

France have scored just three goals so far this tournament — a Kylian Mbappe penalty and two own goals — but have made it to the last four, where they face a Spain side who have impressed most in Germany.

Under Deschamps, France have made it to the final of three of the past four major tournaments, winning the World Cup in 2018.

Asked about playing “boring football”, the coach said fans could be inspired by the team’s success.

“Maybe it’s not the same as it was in the past, but we do have the capability to spark emotions and make lots of French men and women happy with our results, especially after a difficult period in our country.

“If you are bored, watch another game — you don’t have to watch us, it’s fine.”

France scored 16 goals at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, with Mbappe bagging eight. Les Bleus lost the final on penalties to Argentina.

Mbappe broke his nose in France’s Euros opener against Austria and missed the 0-0 draw with the Netherlands. He returned wearing a protective mask, which Deschamps said the superstar forward was still getting used to.

“We are convinced Kylian is in the right headspace, as are all of our players. He had an issue with his back, took a blow to the nose, it could have been the end of the road for him but he’s still here,” said Deschamps.

“His field of vision is changed and it was a huge shock to him.

“I’m convinced he will do everything he can tomorrow.”

Antoine Griezmann, who scored six goals for France at Euro 2016, has also failed to fire.

“I think everyone is surprised because we know what Antoine is capable of. We saw what he pulled out of the bag at the World Cup, where he was at the peak of his powers as a player,” teammate Adrien Rabiot said Monday.

“I don’t know the reason… We have high expectations when it comes to Antoine and we expect a lot because he’s capable.

“If someone’s having a rough patch then we’re here to support them, but obviously it’d be better if we had the Kylian and the Antoine (we know) playing here at the Euros.”

The midfielder suggested a long club season could be the reason the duo have struggled in Germany.

“Their legs aren’t as fresh as they could be but we’re 100 percent behind them, they’re players that can change the game at any point, especially if we want to get to the final.”

Rabiot backed the French to go far as a collective, saying “team spirit is more important than winning on the individual front.”

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