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"Deschamps has paid the price for summoning Benzema" - French media lay blame after Euro 2020 failure

Didier Deschamps has come under fire for recalling Real Madrid's Karim Benzema after France crashed out of Euro 2020 at the hands of Switzerland.

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"Deschamps has paid the price for summoning Benzema" - French media lay blame after Euro 2020 failure
FRANCK FIFE Pool via REUTERS

While the highlight moment of France’s defeat to Switzerland was Kylian Mbappé’s penalty miss in the final round of the shootout, the French media have piled the blame on coach Didier Deschamps, with questions raised over his tactical choices and even his decision to recall Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema after an almost six-year absence.

Firstly, L’Equipe questioned his decision to use three central defenders, which deviated from the 4-4-2 that had worked so well in the group phases. “He placed two wing backs without width,” pointed out the newspaper, which criticized the French coach for throwing away the first half and giving wings to a Switzerland side that were very comfortable during a large part of the 90 minutes, aside from the 20 minutes in the second half marked by Hugo Lloris’s penalty save and Karim Benzema’s brace.

Benzema call-up blamed

Somewhat surprisingly, Deschamps has even come under fire for calling up brace-scorer Benzema himself, who managed four goals in France’s last two games.

“Yesterday's defeat reminds us that football is a sport like no other. During Euro 2020, Didier Deschamps has paid the price for summoning Karim Benzema. I am not saying that Karim's return was illegitimate, but that it was too late, which threw France's tactical plans out of balance,” said RTL journalist, Philippe Sanfourche.

"Yes, Benzema is an F1 car and Deschamps is one of the best drivers. But changing all the settings at the beginning of a race is not ideal. Tactical trial and error, delicate game time management ... The saviour return [of Benzema] will have added many options, but too late,” added Sanfourche on social media.

Lenglet also singled out

The French coach has been criticized over his selection of Clement Lenglet, who, after having a markedly disappointing season with Barcelona, was a surprising starter against Switzerland.

The 26-year-old defender, whose last game was on May 16 against Celta, looked out of his depth against Switzerland in a line of three central defenders. He had no idea how to stop Breel Embolo and was easily beaten by Haris Seferovic in the move that led to the first Swiss goal. Lenglet was replaced at halftime by Kingsley Coman, but many in France are questioning why the Barcelona player, who had not featured in any of France's previous six games, started in the first place.

Euro 2020 - Round of 16 - France v Switzerlandrance's Benjamin Pavard and Kylian Mbappe look dejected after losing the penalty shoot-out.

Deshamps unable to confirm continuity

To top it all, Deschamps has also been criticized for his management of substitutions. The entry of Moussa Sissoko in place of Antoine Griezmann, which left the team without its main offensive weapon, was the last wrong decision by the coach, who bows out of the Euros bruised and battered after one of the worst results in living memory for the French national team.

The defeat in the last 16 of the European Championship has once again called Desschamp’s continuity into question. Despite having a contract until 2022, the World Cup-winning coach was unable to guarantee that we would continue at a press conference yesterday. Although he insisted that he hoped to still be on the bench come September.