France at the Euro: The Latest in a Long List of Disappointments

France arrived at Euro 2020 as the big favorites due to their squad and the consistency of their game in the last five years, but they were only eliminated in the round of 16.

Kylian Mbappé after the game with Switzerland

France were eliminated by Switzerland after a dramatic match that was decided on penalties in the round of 16. Photo: UEFA

LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano

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Leer en español: Francia en la Eurocopa: la más reciente de una larga lista de decepciones

It was of no use to France, world champion in Russia 2018, having the most talented squad of the Eurocup as it was eliminated by Switzerland after a dramatic match that was decided in the penalty shootout in the round of 16 and that placed the Gauls in a long list of disappointments in recent national team tournament history.

But beware that this French disappointment is not the only one. Historically, each tournament of major teams, especially World Cups and Euro, gives us the early elimination of a candidate for the title. In the Copa América less happens since Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil, eternal favorites, share almost all the titles.

Also read: Stars who are not playing in Euro 2021

Without going too far, the “canarinha” who is always a favorite in all the tournaments in which she participates, accumulates four disappointments in a row in World Cups, being that of 2006 -when they defended their title in 2002- and that of 2014 -when Germany he beat them 7-1 in the semifinals at home - the most painful.

Why did France disappoint?

Beyond the early elimination in the competition, the team led by Didier Deschamps, disappointed by their level of play in the group stage in which they only won one match thanks to their own goal and were unable to beat Hungary. Even when he led the so-called “Group of Death” in front of Germany and Portugal, the feelings were not good.

Today, everyone remembers the penalty Kylian Mbappé missed in the penalty shootout against the Helvetians. But the reality is that the young marvel of French soccer is not solely responsible for that elimination. It is the whole team because they won 3-1 at minute 80 and did not know how to manage the advantage because the goals of the tie are born from errors of two experienced players like Raphael Varane and Paul Pogba.

Many attribute the disaster to the fact that coach Deschamps was not right with the line of three that he put together in defense after the injuries of his sides Lucas Hernández and Lucas Digne. An unexpected one that perhaps he did not know how to handle.

Clément Lenglet's work was not up to the task. Karim Benzema, the one that fans asked so much to return to the national team, more than fulfilled 4 goals in four games, he and Pogba were perhaps the only ones who met expectations.

The Argentina of 2002

For many, the biggest disappointment in sccer history. The 'Albiceleste', led by Marcelo Bielsa, came as the main candidate to stay with the 2002 Korea-Japan event but left surprisingly in the group stage against Nigeria, England, and Sweden.

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43 points out of 54 possible in 18 games played in qualifying rounds, a difficult campaign to match and led by names such as Roberto Ayala, Mauricio Pochettino, Juan Pablo Sorín, Matías Almeyda, Javier Zanetti, Ariel Ortega, Diego Simeone, Pablo Aimar, Marcelo Gallardo, Gabriel Batistuta, and Hernán Crespo.

June 12 of that year is a date of a bad memory for Argentines. The Albicelestes needed to beat Sweden in the last match of the first phase and the Scandinavians in turn passed with the draw, which was what they finally got 1-1.

The reasons for that disaster were attributed to excessive physical work carried out in the previous weeks and an alleged bad relationship between Bielsa and some heavyweight players. Prensa Fútbol rescued from FM Cielo de La Plata in 2014, the statements of former goalkeeper Pablo Cavallero in this regard “We were one of the first teams to arrive in Japan and the coaching staff decided to have games with zonal teams behind closed doors. At one point I saw that the team was not lifting ”.

Spain in 2014

"La Roja" failed resoundingly in Brazil 2014, the edition in which it defended the title and after being the model team in the world between 2008 and 2014, winning two consecutive Eurocup (2008-2012) and the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, with an imprint of ball possession and associated game with which it was difficult to fight and led by names such as Xavi, Andrés Iniesta, Fernando Torres, David Silva, Cesc Fabregas, and David Villa among others.

Suddenly, everything collapsed in that tournament in which the automatisms stopped working and their rivals arrived very well prepared to face them. Defeated by the Netherlands 5-1 in the debut and then a 2-0 defeat by Chile quickly knocked them out, although in the final match they at least made up the disaster by beating Australia 2-0.

According to midfielder Xabi Alonso after the event, the main reason for the elimination was the lack of hunger of the squad after having won everything, statements reflected by Diario ABC.

Spain and England in 2016

Two years later, Spain returned for the Euro in France, trying with a renewed team with some names and after an auspicious start with two victories, a fall against Croatia on the final date of the group stage and another against Italy in the second round of, In the end, it generated the departure of coach Vicente del Bosque and the end of an era.

The rebound of England, the inventor of soccer, has been expected for years. 2016 seemed like a good opportunity for the English eleven to showcase the talents of youngsters like Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Kieran Trippier, Jordan Pickford, and Marcus Rashford, but it turned out to be more of the same. They advanced to the eighth as second in a group that included Wales, Russia, and Slovakia and in the second phase, surprising Iceland sent them home with a score of 2-1.

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