Raphael Varane has expressed his pride in the France squad, after they fell agonisingly short in the World Cup final against Argentina.
A six-goal thriller saw Didier Deschamps side come from behind twice to send the tie to penalties, as Kylian Mbappe became only the second player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final after Geoff Hurst for England in 1966.
However, Emiliano Martinez saved Kingsley Coman’s spot-kick and Aurelien Tchouameni fired wide, before Gonzalo Montiel tucked home the decisive effort to hand Argentina their third World Cup crown.
After a woeful first-half display, France valiantly fought their way back into the match but ultimately fell short, though that has not altered Varane’s assessment of the squad’s quality.
“We are very disappointed. We gave it our all,” he told TF1. “We faced a lot of obstacles during the competition, we fought until the end. We didn’t give up.
“Today, for an hour, we were not in the game. We came back and we could have won too. Very proud of the French, of this group. We gave everything, we keep our heads high.
4 – Kylian Mbappé has scored more World Cup final goals than any other player in the tournament’s history (4). Steel.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe)
“We came back in this match when we were not in it, it was complicated. It played out very quickly. We came back and then physically, we were better than them.
“We started pushing and we believed in it. We were not far from managing to reverse the match which was badly started.
“There is mental strength in this group, a lot of heart. It allowed us to get to the final, but it wasn’t enough to win.”
France will regroup for the start of their qualification campaign for the 2024 European Championship, which begins in March against the Netherlands.