The 2022 FIFA World Cup completed all 64 matches in the span of a month in Qatar, and fans would have to wait another four years before the celebrated quadrennial sporting event returns to shower fans with exciting matches. Many have already been reminiscing about the first World Cup ever to be held in a Middle-East State and during the winter season as this edition is dubbed the most controversial ever in the history of football but also the very best among all 22 tournaments that started from 1930 in Uruguay, with a thrilling final concluding the dramas, upsets, triumphs that the 2022 FIFA World Cup brought upon.
The finale saw both sets of former world champions, Argentina and France, winners of Groups C and D took on each other for their respective third World Cup trophy. La Albiceleste enjoyed the lead for most parts of the game and was leading 2-0 until the 80th minute of the game, with French sensation Kylian Mbappé scoring a brace within 97 seconds to level things up. Luis Scaloni’s men took another lead in the early period of the second extra time half, only to be equalised by Mbappé once again. Both teams gave their very best but it was Argentina’s day to be remembered as they outscored France 4-2 on penalties in the shoot-out.
In a recent interview, France’s coach Didier Deschamps has revealed that there were at least four to five players unfit for the final, confirming that rumours about an illness spreading across the squad were true.
Half of the Starting Lineup Was Not Fit
The 54-year-old Deschamps, who recently extended his international managerial contract with France until June 2026, said that, “There is also an emotional side. It was the first final for some, it’s special. We didn’t exist for a good hour. Afterwards, we came back from nowhere. We jostled them. I don’t hide the part where there was no contest. In fact, there were at least five players out of the starting eleven who were not up to the task for such a match and against such an opponent.”
It was an uphill battle coming to their title defence campaign shorthanded and losing more men to injuries during the competition; Having players with the lack of fitness level during the final was rubbing salt into wound for France, especially when Argentina took a 2-0 first half lead in the 36th minute. This prompted the Bayonne-born coach to immediately shift things up and substitute his two attackers, Ousmane Dembélé and Olivier Giroud, before half-time. Although replacements like Randal Kolo Muani and Marcus Thuram made an impact in the match, the mighty Argentina was a little too much for the then wounded defending champion, especially when the team had to send secondary spot kick takers to the shoot-out, when most of the primary ones were either injured or replaced.
Le Graët: “Persuading Deschamps Was a No-Brainer.”
French Football Federation (FFF) president Noël Le Graët mentioned that it was not a difficult matter to convince Deschamps to stay on as the head coach of the France National Football Team, despite rumours about a rift between him and Karim Benzema was clouding the squad. The 81-year-old president stated that “It was not very difficult to convince Didier. We had a number of details to look at. The four-year length seemed to be the right one.”
With major tournaments to come in Deschamps’ renewed coaching tenure with the national team and having a young and volatile squad to work with, led by the exceptionally-talented Mbappé, we would not have to wait long to see France reclaiming the crown as the best football nations in the world in the near future.
EA Sports made the correct prediction on the FIFA World Cup winner for the fourth time, read here for more.