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Although France had already advanced to the round of 16, coach Didier Deschamps won’t be pleased with how they lost to Tunisia 1-0.
The game’s lone goal was scored by Wahbi Khazri in the 58th minute, and Deschamps’ backup players, who were playing without the majority of his key players, did little to further their claim for a spot on the team.
After eight minutes of additional time, Antoine Griezmann’s goal was controversially disallowed by the VAR, but in reality, France didn’t deserve to win against a Tunisia team that will now travel home.
This game had little significance for Deschamps because France had already qualified for the round of 16 and was practically certain to win the group. Therefore, France’s head coach decided to use it as a large experiment.
Kylian Mbappe, Griezmann, and Theo Hernandez were all left on the bench as Deschamps made nine changes to the lineup that had defeated Denmark so easily on Saturday. In the starting XI, only Raphael Varane and Aurelien Tchouameni remained. The issue here, however, is not rotation; rather, it is that the system was built entirely incorrectly. Les Bleus lacked organization and were disorganized.
The left-winger Matteo Guendouzi and left-back Eduardo Camavinga in the 4-3-3 arrangement failed miserably. The balance seemed off, and the athletes appeared bewildered. Deschamps also made several changes for the third group game against Denmark four years ago in Russia, and the 0-0 tie that resulted was the poorest contest of that competition. He repeated it. This time, his squad was defeated, he learned nothing, and his experiment was unsuccessful.
Some of the France players used this game to demonstrate to their coach what they were capable of in a World Cup setting and that they could contend for a spot in the starting XI. Well, it also didn’t work.
All the other recruits had terrible performances, except the outstanding Ibrahima Konate at the back and, to a lesser extent, Randal Kolo Muani, who worked hard and showed flashes of brilliance up forward.
Camavinga had a little bit of a nightmare, even playing left-back in a very unorthodox way. However, Youssouf Fofana, who is highly regarded by Deschamps, also performed poorly in his usual midfield position and lost a significant opportunity to make an impression. The same can be said for Kingsley Coman, who was subpar despite competing with Ousmane Dembele for the starting right flank spot. While Matteo Guendouzi was positioned as a left winger (later a right one) and completely out of place, Jordan Veretout performed poorly in midfield. For his debut appearance, Axel Disasi played right-back but didn’t contribute enough.
Overall, the evening was disappointing both in terms of the outcome and both the individual and group performances.
If Khazri had started the tournament completely fit, where would Tunisia be in this group? In the round of 16, for sure. Khazri was only able to play for one hour in this game due to injury restrictions on his playing time. Even though he wasn’t at full strength, the captain led them to a memorable victory over the current world champions.
With all of his talent and finesse, Khazri took his fantastic goal. His touch is excellent, whether he uses his right foot, which he prefers to use for dead ball deliveries, or his left, as seen by the half-volley that goalkeeper Steve Mandanda fought to stop in the first half.
The Montpellier attacker, who is 31 and maybe playing in his final World Cup, has his sights set on helping his nation advance to the knockout stages. He made his contribution to the opposition against his native France. Although it’s terrible that his competition is now finished, Tunisia just couldn’t succeed without him.