Deschamps makes historic World Cup final double change in woeful France first-half display

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France became the first team ever to fail to have a shot during the first half of a World Cup final, forcing Didier Deschamps into a historic double change with Argentina 2-0 up.

Deschamps became the first boss to make two substitutions before half-time in a World Cup match, with the reigning champions on the ropes and failing to have a solitary attempt on goal.

Ousmane Dembele and Olivier Giroud were hauled off after just 41 minutes, with France having a mountain to climb after a Lionel Messi penalty and a wonderfully worked Angel Di Maria strike.

Dembele was at fault for Argentina’s opener, bringing down Di Maria in the France area before Messi coolly slotted home his sixth goal of the tournament, and Di Maria added a second shortly after.

With France well off the pace, Deschamps was forced into drastic measures as he replaced Dembele and Giroud with Randal Kolo Muani and Marcus Thuram.

Deschamps’ decision to take off Giroud will be a big talking point, after the France head coach declined to bring back Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema for the final.

Benzema was ruled out of Qatar 2022 with a thigh injury, but there had been suggestions the Real Madrid striker could link back up with the squad for the final on Sunday.

But Deschamps did not call upon Benzema, who posted an ambiguous message on social media in the following days that was translated as “I’m not interested”.

Deschamps chose to start Giroud despite the Milan man struggling with an injury in the days prior to the final.

Giroud was clearly unhappy at being substituted, throwing a water bottle on the sidelines with Les Bleus’ status as world champions under serious threat.



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