As painful as it was, the defeat conceded by the French team in the final of its Euro, on July 10, 2016, was also beneficial for the men of Didier Deschamps.
André-Pierre Gignac was a few centimeters away from becoming one of the great figures in the history of the France team. Came into play during the last quarter of an hour in place of Olivier Giroud, the Martégal believed to offer the victory to the Blues in the last moments of regulation time. Alas, his attempt from a tight angle would find Rui Patricio’s post and the France team was finally crucified in extra time by a long shot from Eder.
A big regret
Four days after the intoxication born of the historic victory won in the semi-final against the German world champions, the disillusion is terrible. “It’s a big regret, still recently agreed Didier Deschamps. We had one day less recovery than the Portuguese, the sequence with a difficult semi-final against Germany, the context of a final… We paid a dear price. I have the memory of accumulated fatigue, of a restrained team but Portugal had passed ric-rac, had made three extensions, Ronaldo who was injured in the first half, it was simply not our day. »
We thought it was already done
Two years later, during the World Cup in Russia, the memory of the disappointment of the Stade de France is still in everyone’s head when approaching the final against Croatia. “At Euro 2016, we thought it was already done. The mentality was not the same, explained Paul Pogba. Frankly, I’m not going to lie, when we won against Germany we thought that was basically the final. With the course that the Portuguese had made, we said to ourselves: ‘well, it’s won in advance’. I think that was our mistake. »
And the story had been the same in the mouth of Blaise Matuidi. “It always hurts, we missed out on something extraordinary, he had explained. When we beat Germany, we were rightly euphoric, a little too much. The tears have dried but it’s still in a small corner of my head and so much the better, it should be useful for Sunday, even if I don’t like to dwell on the past. It serves as a lesson, we know what a final is. »
This final served us
In retrospect, Didier Deschamps is also convinced that this defeat against Portugal played a role in the coronation of the Blues in Russia. “This final served us for the future and after that we managed the 2018 World Cup better. I changed things in two years because the emotional aspect had taken up too much space and it should not happen again”, he explained. May failure at Euro 2020 have the same beneficial effect on the Blues in Qatar…