Didier Deschamps will continue as head coach of the France national team, the president of the French Football Federation (FFF) has confirmed.

Deschamps oversaw a disappointing Euro 2020 campaign as France were dumped out at the last-16 stage by Switzerland.

However, having led Les Bleus to World Cup glory in 2018 and the final of Euro 2016 two years prior, his stock remains high with the FFF.

And, when asked by Le Figaro whether Deschamps is set to remain in his role, president Noel Le Graet offered an emphatic response, saying: "The answer is yes. 

"I received [the news] on Wednesday at Guingamp. The matter was settled in three minutes. His will is very strong to continue, mine is too. 

"There was no debate on, 'What are we doing? And, 'How are do we do it?'"

France boss since July 2012, Deschamps also led his country to the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup, where they were beaten by eventual champions Germany.

He has triumphed in 76 of his 117 matches with the national team, giving him a 65 per cent win rate. That is the highest ratio for any coach who has had at least 30 games in charge of France.

France suffered a heartbreaking late 23-21 defeat to the Wallabies in the first Test as their 32-year wait for an away win over Australia goes on.

Les Bleus travelled to Suncorp Stadium knowing history was against them, France's last away win over Australia having come 11,330 days ago on June 30, 1990.

But a pair of tries from Gabin Villiere put France in command, with Australia unable to respond until Brandon Paenga-Amosa went over in the 34th minute to make it a 15-7 half-time deficit.

Noah Lolesio reduced the gap to five points from the tee and his second penalty sandwiched three-pointers from Louis Carbonel and Melvyn Jaminet to keep the Wallabies in touch.

Australia captain Michael Hooper backed over the line nine minutes from time and Lolesio knocked over a simple conversion to fray France nerves as they were left to nurse a one-point advantage.

Lolesio had the chance to be the hero in the 77th minute but his drop goal drifted wide of the right-hand upright.

It looked as if Australia's chance had gone but France inexplicably failed to get the ball out of play from a lineout with the clock in the red, conceding possession and allowing Australia to earn a decisive penalty that Lolesio converted from in front of the posts.

Kylian Mbappe has been urged to consider leaving Paris Saint-Germain by Nicolas Anelka if he wants to have the same global impact as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

The 22-year-old has spent the past four seasons in the French capital but is out of contract in 2022 and has been strongly linked with Real Madrid, while Liverpool are also rumoured to be interested.

Former Monaco forward Mbappe raised further questions over his future when revealing last month he is unsure whether the Parc des Princes is the best place for him.

Those comments were made on the back of a disappointing 2020-21 campaign for PSG in which they failed to defend their Ligue 1 title and exited the Champions League in the semi-finals, though they did win the Coupe de France and Trophee des Champions.

On an individual level, Mbappe was as prolific as ever with 42 goals in 47 appearances in all competitions last time out, averaging one every 86 minutes for the French giants.

In Europe's top five leagues, only Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (48) scored more goals in all competitions than Mbappe in 2020-21.

 

But former France international Anelka, who started his career with PSG before joining Arsenal in 1997, believes it is time for his compatriot to seek a new challenge elsewhere if he is to fulfil his career ambitions.

Writing a letter to Mbappe on The Athletic, Anelka said: "You have done so well since coming through at Monaco and taking it to a new level at Paris Saint-Germain. 

"You play at a team that has evolved into a big club capable of winning the Champions League. It seems you will stay for another year, then there is a big choice to make. 

"It is a bit more complicated for you than it was for me. You have at least two choices – stay in Paris or move to Real Madrid. Both of them can win the Champions League these days. When I was at PSG, that wasn't the case.

"That choice depends on what you want to achieve in football. If you want the biggest accolades, you will have to move from PSG at some point. 

"Whatever you do in Paris will be good, but somebody will always say, 'Well, you did great for PSG but it was only in France. The best leagues are in England and Spain, so you didn't compete with the best players in the best league.

"You will have to decide. If you want to win the Ballon d'Or, which is what you should be looking at to echo Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, you will have to compete with the best. 

"You can't say you compete with the best all the time when you are at PSG. The French league is not easy, don't get me wrong, but I think the toughest league is in England. 

"So, if you want to be one of the best, then do what you do in Paris but with Chelsea or United or Arsenal or Manchester City or Liverpool. Or go to Spain to Madrid or Barcelona. Or maybe Italy. Then we can speak about a more global impact."

 

Mbappe endured an underwhelming Euro 2020 campaign in which he failed to find the net in France's four matches before their shock last-16 exit at the hands of Switzerland, a game in which he missed the decisive penalty in the shoot-out.

He failed to score in the tournament despite taking 14 shots. At the point of France's tournament exit, only Cristiano Ronaldo (five goals from 15 shots) and Alvaro Morata (two goals from 15 shots) had taken more goal attempts.

It is the first time France failed to make it to at least the quarter-finals of a major competition since 2010 but Anelka, who won the European Championship with Les Blues in 2000, does not think the blame should lie with the attacking players.

"Football is a magnificent sport that remains unpredictable," he said. "Even if France had the best team on paper with a team capable of winning again, something was missing in the collective. 

"They had difficulties in defence. This France team was able to score goals at any time but was also able to concede at any time so that's what stopped them from going further in this tournament.

"The World Cup in Qatar is next year so there will be matches for France to try to make the tactical and collective repairs to compete, to win again. 

"France won the World Cup three years ago but the page has turned. This European Championship is another page that has to turn. Some new players might be integrated and this is a new chapter. 

"Many teams want to be world champions but there are not many examples of a country winning the World Cup twice in a row. It is easy to say, not easy to do."

Jake Gordon will return from a knee injury scare to start for the Wallabies against France in the first Test in Brisbane on Wednesday. 

The Waratahs captain is set to line up alongside Noah Lolesio in the halves with Nic White and James O'Connor ruled out due to injury. 

Few would have predicted Gordon would don the Australia number nine jersey so soon after he left late in a defeat to the Highlanders last month with what was initially feared to be an anterior cruciate ligament injury. 

Yet he was able to make a quick recovery after scans revealed only minor damage to his medial collateral ligament, opening the door for his first Wallabies start since his debut against Italy back in 2018.

Up front, Lolesio's Brumbies team-mates James Slipper and Allan Alaalatoa are the starting props and Brandon Paenga-Amosa was named at hooker by head coach Dave Rennie.

Matt Philip and Lukhan Salakaia-Loto are in the second row, with Rob Valetini to make his first start for the Wallabies at blindside flanker, captain Michael Hooper in the number seven shirt and Harry Wilson at number eight.

Veteran Matt Toomua is at number 12 alongside Hunter Paisami.

The back three features Marika Koroibete and the Brumbies pairing of Tom Wright and Tom Banks.

"The whole squad has been training really hard over the past three weeks to prepare for what’s going to be an exciting, tough series against the French," Rennie said.

"We’ve always selected a side based on earning the right to wear the jersey and this team is no different.

"The whole group is excited to be back playing Test rugby in front of our families and supporters and we’re looking to start the year with a positive result at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night.”

Australia have won their past 11 at home against France dating back to a 1990 loss in Brisbane.


Australia: Tom Banks Tom Wright, Hunter Paisami, Matt Toomua, Marika Koroibete, Noah Lolesio, Jake Gordon; James Slipper, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Allan Alaalatoa, Matt Philip, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Rob Valenti, Michael Hooper, Harry Wilson.

Replacements: Lachlan Lonergan, Angus Bell, Taniela Tupou, Darcy Swain, Isi Naisarani, Tate McDermott, Len Ikitau, Andrew Kellaway.

Bayern Munich have confirmed defender Lucas Hernandez has had successful surgery on a knee injury.

Hernandez tore the medial meniscus of his left knee during France's 2-2 draw with Portugal at Euro 2020 on June 23.

Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said in a statement on Sunday: "We wish Lucas a full and speedy recovery. Our doctors are very pleased with the course of the operation. He will be available again in a few weeks."

Hernandez has made 62 appearances for Bayern in all competitions since joining from Atletico Madrid two years ago.

The 25-year-old has suffered only one defeat in his 42 Bundesliga games, while he did not lose a single one of the 25 league matches he played in his first season at the Allianz Arena as Bayern won the treble under Hansi Flick.

The German champions, now coached by Julian Nagelsmann, begin their title defence away to Borussia Monchengladbach on August 13.

 

Didier Deschamps will hold talks with French Football Federation (FFF) president Noel Le Graet next week to discuss France's Euro 2020 disappointment.

Pre-tournament favourites France topped a tough group containing Portugal, Germany and Hungary, only to be eliminated at the last-16 stage on penalties by Switzerland.

It marked the first time since the 2010 World Cup that Les Blues had failed to reach at least the quarter-finals of a major competition.

France's premature exit led to questions about Deschamps' future, with Zinedine Zidane being heavily linked with the job since leaving his position as Real Madrid boss in May.

Deschamps is under contract until after the 2022 World Cup and has been in charge of his country since 2012, lifting the World Cup in 2018 and reaching the Euro 2016 final in that time.

La Great insisted last week that the 52-year-old's position is not under immediate threat, but the FFF president plans to meet with Deschamps in the coming days.

"We will meet next week. I always let 10 days pass first," La Graet told Telefoot. "We'll meet in my office in Guingamp and spend the day together.

"Everyone has to think about what went right and what went wrong. We'll spend the day chatting. He's a friend, someone who has always been faithful. This is his first failure."

 

When asked about his recent comments of Deschamps' job being safe, La Graet said: "I didn't say that. I said we will have a discussion. We will speak about what went wrong."

France beat Germany 1-0 in their opening Euro 2020 game, but they then played out draws with Portugal and Hungary before losing on penalties to Switzerland following a 3-3 draw.

The world champions squandered a commanding 3-1 lead against the Swiss in Bucharest and were knocked out 5-4 in the shoot-out.

Les Blues have now been eliminated in their last three games in which they played extra time in major tournaments, as many as in their first 11.

Reflecting on his nation's shock exit in the first knockout round, La Graet said: "I feel disappointment more than anger. We must remember we had a difficult group.

"We finished top of our pool, and switched off for 10 minutes against Switzerland. Not everyone played at the same level, but we can't throw away everything we've previously done.

"We have quality players and coaches. We will analyse things that didn't work next week. Sometimes it's small details."

France are back in action on September 1 with a World Cup qualifier against Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Paul Pogba "lost the plot" in France's dramatic Euro 2020 last-16 exit to Switzerland, according to 1998 World Cup winner Emmanuel Petit.

Didier Deschamps' side appeared to be coasting towards the quarter-finals on Monday after overcoming a 1-0 half-time deficit to lead 3-1 through Karim Benzema's double and a sumptuous long-range effort from Pogba.

But Haris Seferovic's second of the game nine minutes from time preceded a last-gasp equaliser from Mario Gavranovic, the build-up to which saw Pogba lose the ball too easily in midfield.

During the game Pogba was seen clashing angrily with team-mate Adrien Rabiot, with the families of both players also reportedly remonstrating in the stands.

France went on to lose 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out, with Kylian Mbappe missing the crucial spot-kick, and former Arsenal and Barcelona midfielder Petit was at a loss to explain the world champions' implosion.

"I don't really understand what happened to France versus Switzerland," Petit told PaddyPower.

"During the game we only played well for 20 minutes after [Hugo] Lloris stopped the penalty. After it, we looked confident and like a good team.

"But then there was one incident – Pogba lost the ball for the second Swiss goal – and France collapsed.

"We lost everything. Concentration, team spirit, desire – and the tie. Worst of all, we started fighting on the pitch between ourselves.

"There was a big clash between Rabiot and Pogba, who lost the plot, after the second Swiss goal and from then on we had no control, no confidence.

"We looked average – it's hard to explain."

 

It was a strange outing for Pogba, who had largely impressed with an industrious performance in central midfield. 

No France player won more than his 19 duels, while his 72 successful passes was also a team high and he had an impressive 93.6 per cent passing success rate in the opposition half.

By contrast, Mbappe's miss in the shoot-out was emblematic of a disappointing tournament in which the Paris Saint-Germain superstar failed to score.

None of his six shots against Switzerland managed to hit the target, including a glorious opportunity in extra time.

Petit alluded to the issues Mbappe had pre-tournament with Olivier Giroud, who had complained of a lack of service during a warm-up friendly against Bulgaria, leading to reports of a dispute between the two.

"Mbappe was asking for more responsibilities before the tournament, and there were stories about not passing the ball to Giroud," Petit added.

"There was even fighting in the stands between Rabiot, Mbappe and Pogba's families after the second goal.

"Then Mbappe's penalty is saved in the shootout. We looked so far away from the World Cup-winning team.

"It reminds me of our team in 2002, when we went out in the group stage of the World Cup. It's a real shame because it doesn't need to be like this."

 

Kylian Mbappe apologised for his failed penalty as France crashed out of Euro 2020 at the hands of Switzerland, with the star insisting he has sleepless nights ahead.

Mbappe had his spot-kick saved by Yann Sommer, whose heroics lifted Switzerland to a shock 5-4 penalty shoot-out victory against world champions France in the last 16 on Monday.

France had rallied to a 3-1 lead with 15 minutes of regulation time remaining after falling behind early to Switzerland in Bucharest, where Les Bleus used Karim Benzema's quick-fire brace and Paul Pogba's stunner to turn the match on its head.

Switzerland, who saw Ricardo Rodriguez's penalty saved for a chance to move 2-0 clear early in the second half, sensationally forced extra time thanks to Haris Seferovic's second goal and Mario Gavranovic's last-gasp strike.

Mbappe was involved in the decisive moment, his penalty kept out by Sommer as France failed to reach the quarter-final stage of a major tournament (European Champion and World Cup) for the first time since the 2010 World Cup.

"Very difficult to turn the page," Mbappe – who has had more shots (14) without scoring than any other player at Euro 2020 – said in a post shared on Instagram. "The sadness is immense after this elimination, we were not able to achieve our objective.

"I am sorry for this penalty. I wanted to help the team but I failed. It will be hard to sleep but sadly these are the risks of this sport that I love so much.

"I know that you the fans are disappointed, but I would still like to thank you for your support and for having always believed in us.

"The most important thing will be to get up even stronger for the challenges to come. Congratulations and good luck to Switzerland."

Didier Deschamps' France have been eliminated in their last three games in which they played extra time in major tournaments (Euros and World Cup), as many as in their first 11.

France captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris told beIN SPORTS: "We win together, we lose together. We are all responsible for being eliminated at this stage of the competition.

"There is no pointing fingers. We had to deal with injuries, but we have no right to make excuses. This is a competition.

"We gave everything, we left it all out on the pitch. Penalties are a lottery. We did not have the luck.

"We will now need to manage the pain. At 3-1 we should have been able to close the match out. But this is football, this is why we love it, this is why it hurts. Tonight hurts a lot."

Granit Xhaka could not contain his joy after Switzerland sensationally eliminated world champions France in the last 16 at Euro 2020, describing the triumph as "f****** amazing".

Switzerland completed a remarkable comeback in a penalty shoot-out following Monday's dramatic 3-3 draw in Bucharest, where Yann Sommer emerged the hero after saving Kylian Mbappe's spot-kick.

Having opened the scoring and seen Ricardo Rodriguez's penalty saved by Hugo Lloris early in the second half, Switzerland found themselves 3-1 behind with 15 minutes of regulation time remaining.

But Haris Seferovic netted his second of the game in the 81st minute before Mario Gavranovic's last-gasp strike forced extra-time after cancelling out Karim Benzema's brace and Paul Pogba's stunner.

Sommer then stepped up with the decisive save in the shoot-out after extra time to send Switzerland through to the quarter-finals at a major tournament for the first time since the 1954 World Cup.

"It is f****** amazing man," Switzerland captain and man of the match Xhaka – who refused to rule out a move to Jose Mourinho's Roma from Arsenal – told beIN SPORTS.

"We lose two goals and then we go up. Then the penalty we missed broke us a bit. We showed a beautiful character. It's a hell of a team.

"We showed a lot of character, I don't even know what to say. In 10 minutes, we go back to 3-3. The last 30 minutes we were better, we wanted to finish and win before the penalty shoot-out. In the end, we are qualified. We are writing the history of our national team."

It was the first time in Switzerland's history that they had won a penalty shoot-out at a European Championship or World Cup, thanks to Sommer's save.

As Switzerland look ahead to Friday's showdown with Spain in St Petersburg, Sommer told EURO2020.com: "What a match! What an evening of football.

"It was our chance to finally go through the round of 16, because we never made it before. It's incredible, we played with heart and with character. It’s amazing.

"It was a really difficult situation for us after the penalty miss. I'm really proud of the team, how they came back. We always believed. Even before the game we said no matter what happens in the game, it doesn't matter if we're down, or if things are going well; we play until the end, we never give up.

"It's always 'anything is possible'. We believe. We said before the game that we are a small country, but we have a lot of quality and a lot of experience and we showed it tonight."

France head coach Didier Deschamps dismissed questions about his future after the world champions surprisingly crashed out of Euro 2020 at the hands of Switzerland in the last 16.

Deschamps' France lost 5-4 on penalties to Switzerland after Kylian Mbappe's spot-kick was saved by Yann Sommer, squandering a 3-1 lead with 15 minutes of regulation time remaining in Bucharest on Monday.

France failed to reach the quarter-final stage of a major tournament (European Champion and World Cup) for the first time since the 2010 World Cup following the shoot-out against Switzerland after the dramatic 3-3 draw at the end of extra time.

Deschamps is contracted until 2022 and has been in charge of Les Bleus since 2012, lifting the World Cup in 2018 and finishing European Championship runners-up in 2016.

France's premature Euro 2020 exit led to questions about the former France international's future as national team boss amid links with former Real Madrid boss and countryman Zinedine Zidane.

"That is not the question," Deschamps told beIN SPORTS after the defeat. "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 to time to manage this, it hurts tonight."

France superstar Mbappe had his spot-kick saved in the decisive shoot-out moment by Sommer as Switzerland reached the quarter-finals of a major tournament for the first time since the 1954 World Cup.

Paris Saint-Germain's Mbappe had more shots (14) without scoring than any other player at Euro 2020.

Deschamps refused to blame Mbappe, adding: "Nobody can be annoyed with him.

"When you take the responsibility, it can happen. He is obviously very affected by it."

Deschamps said France showed weakness by allowing Switzerland's two late goals which forced extra-time.

France had fought back from a first-half deficit after Haris Seferovic's 15th-minute opener, with three second-half goals in 18 minutes, initially a Karim Benzema double before Paul Pogba's stunning strike.

Switzerland pulled a goal back with Seferovic's close-range header before Mario Gavranovic found space to level in the 90th minute to force extra time.

France have been eliminated in their last three games in which they played extra time in major tournaments (Euros and World Cup), as many as in their first 11.

"It is always complicated to explain," Deschamps said. "We failed with our first half, we did what was needed to turn it around in the second half.

"Usually our strength is being solid, we showed weakness that allowed Switzerland back in. This is hard, it hurts, we did everything we could for this to end differently. That's football.

"This tournament ends for us today. There is no magic formula."

June 28, 2021 – it has been a 'remember where you were' kind of day at the European Championship, with the round of 16 treating us to two absolute classics.

After seeing Spain emerge as winners over Croatia in an eight-goal match, many of us were probably settling down to watch France expecting a rather duller affair given their approach in the group stage.

What we got was the complete opposite, as Switzerland pulled off what will probably be the biggest shock of the tournament regardless of what happens from this point on.

With 14 goals between the two matches, only June 23, 2021 has seen more scored on a single day in Euros history but that came from a pool of four matches.

Furthermore, this was the first day at a European Championship or World Cup with two games featuring at least six goals each since June 15, 1982.

At the end of a truly remarkable day, Stats Perform looks at the key Opta stats from two engrossing matches.

Croatia 3-5 Spain (after extra time): Calamitous own goal sets tone for chaotic classic

Given how wasteful Spain have been at times in Euro 2020, it's a remarkable achievement that they have managed to become the first side in European Championship history to score five goals in successive games.

But rarely did they have things their own way, shooting themselves in the foot with Pedri scoring the longest-range own goal in Euros history at 49 yards as Unai Simon saw his pass bobble over his foot.

Incredibly, it was the ninth own goal at Euro 2020, as many as in the previous 15 editions of the tournament combined.

Pablo Sarabia equalised before the break, with Cesar Azpilicueta – now Spain's oldest-ever Euros scorer (31 years, 304 days) – and Ferran Torres putting them 3-1 up in the second period. They were cruising.

Or, they were until the last five minutes of normal time when Mislav Orsic and Mario Pasalic both scored, incredibly forcing extra-time.

But back came La Roja. Alvaro Morata silenced his army of critics with his fifth career goal at the Euros, levelling the Spanish record held by Fernando Torres, and then Mikel Oyarzabal made sure of the victory.

France 3-3 Switzerland (aet, 4-5 on penalties): Mbappe endures nightmare as Swiss refuse to roll over

While it was always going to be tricky for France to go all the way given their tough group and the fact they were on the trickier (in theory) side of the draw, anyone who says they predicted Les Bleus being eliminated by Switzerland is a liar.

Yet here we are, and the Swiss are into the quarter-finals. And, to be fair, they might have booked their place earlier had Hugo Lloris not become the first French goalkeeper to save a penalty at a major tournament (excluding shoot-outs) since 2004 when Switzerland were already 1-0 up.

Within four minutes and three seconds of that save, France were 2-1 up – Karim Benzema making himself only the second Frenchman to score two or more goals in successive games at the Euros since Michel Platini's back-to-back hat-tricks at Euro 84.

Paul Pogba then got what should have been the clincher 15 minutes from time with a scorching finish, his fourth in five goals for France to come from outside the box.

But Haris Seferovic got his second of the game to take his tally to three goals in two games after only previously managing one in 13 major tournament appearances, and Mario Gavranovic's dramatic effort secured extra time.

It was in the extra 30 minutes when Mbappe was particularly wasteful, missing one especially good chance, and what followed in the shoot-out ultimately made sense in that context.

After the first nine kicks were converted, Mbappe – who has had more shots (14) without scoring than any other player at Euro 2020 – saw his effort saved by Yann Sommer.

It means Switzerland will contest a quarter-final for the first time since 1954, while France failed to get to that stage for the first time since 2010.

 

Didier Deschamps has frequently faced accusations that he makes his world champions France unpalatably dull considering the enviable attacking talent at his disposal.

Maybe boredom trumps humiliation.

You could call sending his players out to take on Switzerland in an unfamiliar 3-4-3 formation plenty of things, given very few of them appeared to have the foggiest idea what they were supposed to be doing. But it certainly wasn't dull.

By half-time in a Euro 2020 last-16 tie that looked a formality on paper, France were 1-0 down and had not managed a shot on target.

Even allowing for the disorganisation, uncertainty and flailing team-mates playing out of position behind them, this spoke poorly of the dream Karim Benzema, Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann forward line. 

A magic triangle to rival the celebrated magic square, or carre magique, of Michel Platini, Jean Tigana, Luis Fernandez and Alan Giresse that inspired France to European Championship glory in 1984 appeared to have few tricks up their sleeve. For one of them, their night in Bucharest would get far, far worse.

Haris Seferovic's dominant header made mincemeat of Clement Lenglet and France's dubious defensive positioning in general, but the manner in which Benzema, Mbappe and Griezmann were caught watching events unfold – not attempting to get back goal side before the ball was worked out to Steven Zuber for his fourth assist of the tournament – reflected some combination of disorganisation and disinterest.

 

"It was a disaster, this first-half," Deschamps former international team-mate Patrick Vieira told ITV at the interval.  "We can talk about the organisation, the new system, but there is a positive attitude to have."

The system was ripe for the bin, regardless, and Kingsley Coman came on for the embattled Lenglet. Benjamin Pavard celebrated being back in his more familiar right-back position by clattering into Zuber and conceding a penalty.

Handily for Deschamps, his captain Hugo Lloris is rarely anything other than entertaining. A raking pass to set up Griezmann's goal against Hungary was followed by him punching Danilo Pereira in the head to give up a spot-kick in the 2-2 draw against Portugal.

Lloris got a fleeting look at a pair of Cristiano Ronaldo penalties in that game, but Ricardo Rodriguez's left-footed strike from 12 yards lacked the power or disguise necessary to outfox Tottenham's number one. It was the sort of moment that can haunt a career.

Then the magic happened. Griezmann found Mbappe, whose pass was under hit and behind Benzema. The Real Madrid striker brilliantly brought it under his spell with a Bergkamp-esque piece of skill and finished emphatically.

The trio who cowered towards the left channel ineffectively before half-time had burst into life. Griezmann completed a give-and-go with Mbappe and chipped to the back post for Benzema to nod in. Four minutes and two seconds after Rodriguez's penalty was saved, France led 2-1.

 

It was easy to ask why Deschamps doesn't take the handbrake off more often when Paul Pogba's stunning 25-yard strike brought the house down. Well, we had our answer when the roof fell in on France.

Seferovic found some more vintage centre-forward play to head his second before Pogba was ransacked in midfield and Granit Xhaka's majestic pass located a touch and finish to match from substitute Mario Gavranovic.

Spain 5-3 Croatia the game of the day with unmatchable drama? Hold my Beaujolais!

Coman hit the crossbar in injury time and Pavard was superbly denied by Yann Sommer in extra time as Mbappe's radar remained curiously off.

He slashed dreadfully into the side-netting after injury had denied Benzema the chance of a hat-trick. Coman crafted that chance but limped off immediately after, continuing the sense of an improbable unravelling. Griezmann was already on the sidelines, having been sacrificed to protect the result in normal time.

Despite weary legs and minds, nine immaculate penalties followed, meaning it fell to Mbappe after 14 shots and no goals in the tournament. The one remaining star forward was asked to save his side, facing the sort of moment to haunt a career.

 

Never before can this superman footballer have felt so hopelessly human in his stellar young career. Sommer sensed his moment, sprung to his right and clawed away France's claims on sporting immortality.

Back-to-back World Cups would secure such a status and expect Mbappe to be more like himself again by Qatar 2022. One-and-a-half years of pandemic football has sapped everyone.

Deschamps' contract will also keep him in place until then and the stew of confusion and chaos served up in Bucharest is likely to prompt further caution. Despite leading his players to the top of the mountain three years ago, it somehow feels like he's selling them short.    

Kylian Mbappe saw the crucial spot-kick saved by Yann Sommer as Euro 2020 favourites France were eliminated by Switzerland in a thrilling shoot-out after a dramatic 3-3 draw in Monday's last-16 tie.

France looked to have battled back from the brink after going a goal down early on and conceding a penalty only to then find themselves 3-1 up with 15 minutes of regulation time remaining in Bucharest.

But a late Swiss fight-back saw Haris Seferovic net his second and Mario Gavranovic force extra-time after cancelling out Karim Benzema's brace and Paul Pogba's scorcher.

Both sides had chances in the extra 30 minutes but poor finishing meant the game went to penalties, where Mbappe's disappointing tournament was summed up with the unsuccessful kick that sent France packing, Sommer diving to his right to make the save that sent remarkably sent Switzerland through 5-4 in the shoot-out.

 

Aymeric Laporte has claimed Didier Deschamps did not reply to his messages before the defender switched international allegiance from France to Spain.

Manchester City centre-back Laporte declared for La Roja last month after being granted Spanish citizenship, leading to him being included in their 24-man Euro 2020 squad.

Laporte represented France at youth level, including the Under-21s, but was never handed a senior cap despite being called up by Deschamps.

The 27-year-old has made a positive start to his Spain career by helping his side to three clean sheets in his first four caps, while also scoring in last week's 5-0 win over Slovakia.

Spain finished second in their Euro 2020 group and are on course to face France in the quarter-finals should the heavyweight nations see off Croatia and Switzerland respectively in the last 16.

Deschamps insisted ahead of the tournament he was only ever contacted once by Laporte to discuss an injury issue, but the player has refuted those suggestions.

"They called me six years ago. But in 2019? No, they didn't call me. While I don't want to go over this again, I had sent a message and didn't get a reply," he told The Guardian.

"I have it here. Maybe [Deschamps] changed number, got a new phone. Could be. I don't know, but I replied to the same number he'd called from before.

"I didn't get a reply then. Anyway, given everything that happened, nor did I think I was important enough to France to have to inform them of anything.

"My importance to them has been more a media issue than anything. I've always been very clear that I'm going to be with those that want me, not those that don't.

"I'm not saying France didn't want me, but I'm grateful to those that bet on me. Spain did and I'm trying to return that faith."

 

Laporte's passing accuracy of 96.64 is the third-highest of any player to have played more than 90 minutes at Euro 2020, behind Axel Witsel (96.91) and Dedryck Boyata (97.74).

The former Athletic Bilbao man's 86.33 successful passes per 90 minutes, meanwhile, has been bettered by just five others, including new team-mate Pau Torres (94.52), reflecting how quickly he has settled in with his adopted national team.

"Everyone has different feelings. I felt comfortable coming with Spain, fully identified," he said. "That's what made me change everything. 

"Also, my family hasn't spent eight years in Spain like me.

"I'd been in contact with Spain for years because they've always wanted me. Luis Enrique called. I took the decision.

"It wasn't easy at all. My family still lives in France and from very young I played there with the national team. 

"There were family chats, discussions, an exchange of opinions, the same doubts there would be if you had dual nationality I imagine."

France captain Hugo Lloris believes the outcome of the Euro 2020 last-16 clash with Switzerland will hinge on the match-day attitude of Les Bleus.

The title favourites have yet to truly hit their stride, narrowly beating Germany but drawing with Portugal and Hungary in the group stage.

They topped Group F but left room for improvement, and will look to show in Monday's clash with the Swiss in Bucharest that their pedigree has not been overstated.

Lloris said in a news conference on Sunday: "We've turned the page from the group stage which demanded a lot of effort. We're entering a new competition.

"In the approach we take, it's completely different. We know that we can't make an error. There will be adversity. We will have a great team playing against us who have achieved beautiful things in recent seasons.

"We know the mental aspect will come into play. This will certainly be key to success. We have to produce a performance of a very, very high level to get through to the next round.

"We can count on our background and experience but that's not enough. We have to put all the necessary ingredients together to succeed.

"This wil mean lots of effort, sacrifices, talent and equally discipline. We have to be prepared to overcome this challenge in a mental sense. All of this as a team. From the start we've lived this adventure with all the players, the technical and medical staff. We want to go as far together as possible."

 

France have a number of injuries, with Lucas Digne, Jules Kounde and Marcus Thuram all ruled out by head coach Didier Deschamps. Lucas Hernandez could be involved, though, after a knee problem.

Goalkeeper Lloris said: "It's up to us to give the response on the pitch, by putting in the necessary energy, showing discipline and making the efforts to write our history and create success.

"We're a team of competitors, we don't like losing, but especially when you know that you can go home, the challenge is even greater. It's up to us to do what is necessary in our performance to still be there in the next round and to rise to the occasion."

Karim Benzema's two goals in the draw with Portugal were a welcome boost for France, with the recalled Real Madrid striker showing his value.

Benzema and Antoine Griezmann, who scored in the draw with Hungary, are the only France players to score so far at these finals, with a Mats Hummels own goal bringing about the team's opening win over Germany.

There is surely more to come from the likes of Kylian Mbappe, who has had a team-high eight shots at goal and built up an expected goals tally of 1.29, second only to Benzema (1.71).

According to Lloris, there was never any doubt about Benzema's impact on his return, even before he made a goalscoring contribution.

"I think he's been ready, since he was called up, to do what is necessary for the team but also in a personal sense to bring his experience, his background and his talent in order to help the France team," Lloris said.

"Obviously a striker is looking for goals, that builds confidence. We already know his influence on the team's game, we've not needed to wait for him to score these two goals to see it."

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