French manager Didier Deschamps admitted that illness in the camp has cost them the title.
“In the 1st half we didn’t show up at all. We expected (their intensity), we didn’t have the right attitude or the right answer,” said Deschamps after the final.
“There were many reasons that explained why we weren’t that good. Several key players had less energy, but signing younger players with less experience but a lot of freshness and quality allowed us to keep dreaming.
“But unfortunately the dream did not come true.”
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Adrien Rabiot and Dayot Upamecano both returned after missing out on the semi-final victory over Morocco due to illness. Raphael Varane began missing practice on Friday with cold symptoms, but the slow performance of Deschamps’ team over long periods suggested others were struggling too.
“The whole team had been dealing with a difficult situation. Did it have physical or psychological consequences? Maybe, I don’t know,” said Deschamps, who had hoped to become the first coach to win two World Cups since Italy’s Vittorio Pozzo in the 1930s.
“I wasn’t worried about the players starting, but maybe it was just the games that caught up with us and we had four days to prepare, one day less than them.
“These are not excuses, but we weren’t as dynamic as we had been and that’s why it was practically no game for an hour.”
With his team trailing 2-0 at half-time, Deschamps said he had been so angry in the dressing room that he hurt a finger, which was covered with a Band-Aid, while speaking to reporters.
“I lost a bit of my finger at half time. That happens to me sometimes – you have to create some ripples and try to turn things around.
“We weren’t at our best physically and it happened against a team playing a World Cup final. I didn’t get the impression that we were.”