What went wrong: 5 reasons behind France's loss

Sport360 staff 12/07/2016
Devastating: France got defeated in its home soil.

The moment was there for France to claim a glorious triumph on home soil in the Euro 2016 final against Portugal.

The stage was set for what was seemingly a scripted victory for the French but Portugal had other ideas.

Here, we look at where it all went wrong for the host nation.

DESCHAMPS WAS TOO RIGID

After chopping and changing in the group stage, once Deschamps found his XI that was it. Dimitri Payet’s influence was declining with every game, yet he retained his place, while bar Iceland, Olivier Giroud was average.

Okay, you don’t change a winning team but a few tweaks wouldn’t have gone amiss.

GRIEZMANN’S TOUCH DESERTED HIM

In fairness to Deschamps, up until the final most of what Antoine Griezmann touched turned to gold and he had at least two very scorable chances at the Stade de France, passing up both of them.

Was it nerves? Or just one of those nights where his radar wasn’t quite tuned in correctly?

POGBA’S MUTED ROLE

On his day, Paul Pogba is among the most devastating midfielder players in the world. He can tackle, run at players and shoot with tremendous ferocity, yet bar the first half against Switzerland we saw little of that.

In the 4-2-3-1 he was stationed too deep, and when he was on the ball it was largely out of harm’s way.

WHERE WAS MARTIAL?

Given the brilliant season Anthony Martial had just enjoyed, it’s bizarre how little he played. Deschamps, after bringing Andre-Pierre Gignac on in the 78th minute in the final, waited until the 110th for Martial.

His pace, physicality and unpredictability was perfect for finding a way through Portugal’s tight defence.

PAYET FAILED TO RISE TO THE OCCASION

Dimitri Payet was one of France’s best players at Euro 2016 and seemed to be a front-runner to be named Player of the Tournament. However, the West Ham United playmaker’s biggest contribution in the final was injuring Portuguese talisman Cristiano Ronaldo.

Apart from a few good deliveries early on in the game, he failed to create enough opportunities and his reluctance to hug the touchline played into Portugal’s strategy of maintaining a compact defensive line.

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Toni Kroos, German midfielder.

Toni Kroos has been the subject of much transfer speculation of late but when asked by Bild if he might return to Bayern Munich this week, he insisted: “I ruled out quite a while ago playing for a club in Germany again and this is still the case”.

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Kroos is set to play for Germany against host nation France on in the second of the Euro 2016 semi-finals.

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Wales sensationally saw off Belgium this weekend to make history as European Championship semi-finalists, which had us thinking about five other memorable runs at the tournament.

Which lives longest in your memory and what side do you think overcame the greater odds with their achievements?

Share with us your thoughts by commenting below, using #360fans on Twitter or getting in touch via Facebook.

GREECE, EURO 2004


Only Latvia were longer odds to win in Portugal. A pragmatic approach saw them navigate a treacherous group and that trend continued until their 1-0 final win over the hosts.









DENMARK, EURO 1992


They did not even officially qualify for the eight-team tournament, filling in for the disqualified Yugoslavia. Peter Schmeichel was their hero before they beat Germany 2-0 in the final.






CZECH REPUBLIC, EURO 1996


Competing for the first time since their independence, the Czech’s overcame just about every international superpower before eventually falling short to Germany in the showpiece.





CZECHOSLOVAKIA, EURO 1976


Given it was a four-team tournament, this may seem an odd choice, but they beat two of the greatest sides in history to win it – the Total Football of the Netherlands and West Germany.



TURKEY AND RUSSIA, EURO 2008


The bottom seeds both made a run to the last-four. Finishing second in their respective groups, the Turks then beat a highly-rate Croatia and the Russian’s upset the Netherlands.






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