L’Equipe has unearthed new details on huge disharmony within the French squad following their disastrous exit from Euro 2020, with rifts in the camp present long before their shock defeat to Switzerland.
The world champions crashed out of this summer’s European Championship in the last-16 at the hands of the Swiss, throwing away a two-goal lead with ten minutes remaining before being dumped out on penalties.
Les Bleus were earmarked as strong contenders to lift the trophy on July 11, however their departure from the tournament has been forensically scrutinised by the French media, with cracks in the camp coming to the fore.
New details have emerged relating to alleged on-field bust ups between France’s star players
The world champions crashed out of Euro 2020 after losing to Switzerland in the last-16
The first sign of discontent within the squad came to light following their friendly victory over Hungary, in which Kylian Mbappe was angered by comments made by Olivier Giroud regarding the quality of service he receives.
Moreover, heated exchanges between family members of the squad demonstrated that all is not well within Didier Deschamps’ squad.
And L’Equipe has provided an in-depth analysis into the bitter atmosphere within the 26-man party, ultimately leading to their untimely exit from the competition.
The French outlet described how Giroud’s post-match interview with L’Equipe ‘ignited’ a feud between the Chelsea striker and Mbappe, in which he said: ‘You say that I haven’t been seen much but maybe we could have found each other better.’
Mbappe was understood to have been infuriated by Giroud’s comment, and although the veteran striker maintained that the remark was not directed solely at him, the PSG star demanded that he call a press conference to give his side of the story.
Heated exchanges between the players’ families are said to have occurred after the game
Despite Giroud’s repeated assertions that the comment was not aimed at him, Mbappe failed to temper his rage, to the annoyance of senior players such as Steve Mandanda, Hugo Lloris and Moussa Sissoko, who had reportedly grown tired of seeing the 22-year-old ‘sulk’.
L’Equipe says that the fallout between Mbappe and Giroud ‘marked the borders within the twenty-six’, and the restless stars soon became annoyed with their hotel facilities and family restrictions.
While the likes of England, Italy and Spain have enjoyed playing the majority of their games in their home countries, France have been required to travel to Munich, Budapest and Bucharest for their games this tournament.
As a result, the players have not had a large base camp to settle and have been dissatisfied with their accommodation, particularly in Budapest where they stayed at the Marriott Hotel.
Paul Pogba reportedly asked for the squad to stay 50 kilometres away in Gardony at a facility that overlooks a lake. However, the French remained at the Marriott where they are understood to have felt confined as a result of the bedroom windows not being openable.
The squad were also said to have been disappointed in being unable to see their families for much of the tournament.
Adrien Rabiot’s mother Veronique was reportedly involved in a bust-up with family members of Kylian Mbappe and Paul Pogba in Bucharest
The players argued that the Belgian and Spanish squads had been able to spend time with their loved ones, but the French Football Federation denied their pleas, reasoning that doing so would have health implications as a result of Covid bubble protocols.
Meanwhile, the exit of Ousmane Dembele, who was forced to withdraw from the squad due to an injury picked up in the group stage, served as a hammer blow to the team’s morale.
Dembele, alongside Pogba, is one of the few players able to socialise with all members of the squad, with the Barcelona star understood to get on well with Mbappe, Giroud, Antoine Griezmann and Karim Benzema.
The attacker visited the camp before their game against Hungary which served as a morale boost for the disgruntled squad.
These factors came to a head in Bucharest, as France spectacularly fell apart to be dumped out of the Euros in the biggest shock of the tournament thus far.
In the aftermath of the game, Veronique Rabiot, mother of midfielder Adrien, reportedly told Mbappe’s father to ‘reframe his son and make him less arrogant’.
She is also said to have asked Paul Pogba’s family how he could have lost possession in midfield before the Swiss team countered and found the back of the net.
And according to French Football News, players were involved in rows during the defeat in Romania, with multiple flare ups occurring as Didier Deschamps’ side fell to defeat.
The French outlet reports that Rabiot and Pogba insulted each other throughout the match, with the Juventus star unhappy with the Man United midfielder’s defensive workrate.
Real Madrid star Raphael Varane lambasted Benjamin Pavard for his poor defending. The Bayern Munich defender later blasted Pogba for not contributing defensively and Varane is said to have sided with Pavard during this exchange.
Fresh details have emerged of Adrien Rabiot and Paul Pogba insulting each other throughout the match, with Rabiot unhappy with his team-mate’s defensive workrate
The alleged criticism of Pogba comes after he scored one of the goals of the tournament during the game with a sensational effort from distance and was Les Bleus’ most potent threat going forwards.
After the game, Varane attempted to bring the shell-shocked team together in the dressing room, while Deschamps vowed to bear the brunt of the criticism to come from the press and public.
The coach reportedly told the squad to turn their focus to the upcoming international fixtures in September and is understood to have said: ‘Respect each other, always!’
The reported on-field rows adds to the heated exchanges between the players’ families in Bucharest.
Raphael Varane also lambasted Benjamin Pavard before they both told Pogba to contribute more defensively to the world champions as Switzerland turned the tide
Pogba was France’s best attacking outlet before Les Bleus spectacularly fell apart on Monday
The families of other French stars were said to be ‘shocked’ by Veronique Rabiot’s outburst and the timing of it, given they had just watched their relatives crash out of the tournament.
Mbappe has since apologised for missing the crucial penalty in his nation’s shootout defeat by Switzerland.
He failed to score a goal during the entirety of the tournament and stepped up to take the fifth spot-kick with the underdogs having converted all of theirs, but his strike was parried away by Yann Sommer.
Mbappe stepped up with the shootout locked at 5-4, but his shot was parried by Yann Sommer
Mbappe admitted that ‘finding sleep will be difficult’ following the shock defeat for Les Bleus
With Switzerland’s players wildly celebrating around him, Mbappe cut an isolated figure as he walked off the field in the Romanian capital.
‘Nobody can be annoyed with him. When you take the responsibility, it can happen. He is obviously very affected by it,’ Deschamps said in a staunch defence of the PSG star.
On his future, he added: ‘That is not the question. There is a unity and solidarity in this squad. I am responsible, when things go badly, I am with them, they are with me.
‘We will need time to manage this. There are no magic formulas, there are balances for us to find in the future.’