The National Times - France coach Deschamps holds hands up after Euro 2024 exit

France coach Deschamps holds hands up after Euro 2024 exit

France coach Deschamps holds hands up after Euro 2024 exit
France coach Deschamps holds hands up after Euro 2024 exit / Photo: © AFP

France coach Didier Deschamps refused to point the finger at underperforming stars Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann after his team went out of Euro 2024 in the semi-finals to Spain on Tuesday.

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"The responsibility is mine," Deschamps told reporters when asked about the impact on his team of poor performances at the tournament from both France's captain and vice-captain.

"Against a Spain team of that quality, you need to be at your very best," he added after France lost 2-1 in the last-four clash in Munich despite taking the lead through Randal Kolo Muani's early opener.

"I am not looking for excuses, but when we began our preparation for the tournament we didn't have Aurelien Tchouameni, Adrien Rabiot was injured, and (Dayot) Upamecano was not in the best shape.

"We dealt with the most pressing issues and tried to be as clinical as possible despite everything, but the step was maybe a bit too high for us even though we were lucky enough to open the scoring."

Kolo Muani's goal was the first scored by a France player in open play at the tournament, but Spain hit back to equalise through Lamine Yamal before Dani Olmo struck what proved to be the winner.

"Spain control the game really well. We were not direct enough even if we kept pushing until the end," Deschamps added after France lost a major tournament semi-final for the first time since Euro 96.

"I can't reproach the players for not giving everything. They were not all at 100 percent in this tournament for different reasons."

Deschamps also singled out Olivier Giroud after the veteran 37-year-old striker, France's all-time top scorer, made his final appearance for his country as a late substitute against Spain.

Giroud made his France debut under previous coach Laurent Blanc and featured in Deschamps' first game in charge, a friendly against Uruguay in August 2012.

"He is disappointed like all the players," Deschamps said.

"He was there at the beginning, and he is the last one left from my first match against Uruguay in Le Havre.

"He went through some difficult spells but ended up being our top scorer. He is an example in terms of longevity and professionalism.

"He has not played as much at this Euros but he has been right behind the team. I want to say bravo and thanks to him."