French hearts are broken but future looks bright

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France will be heartbroken after losing the World Cup final to Argentina in a penalty shootout but the genius of Kylian Mbappe and the depth of talent in the squad bode well for the future.

France began the World Cup without Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema, striker Christopher Nkunku, midfielders Ngolo Kante and Paul Pogba and lost left back Lucas Hernandez in the first game and yet still reached the final, where they lost 4-2 on penalties after a spectacular 3-3 draw.

Mbappe, who turns 24 on Tuesday, netted all three French goals, taking his tally from two World Cups to 12. All of his goals on Sunday came after coach Didier Deschamps sent on Randal Kolo Muani (24), Marcus Thuram (25), Eduardo Camavinga (20) and Kingsley Coman (26).

“Potentially, this France team has an important reservoir of talents. Before this tournament, we had a lot of players with little experience and they proved that they could play at the highest level,” said Deschamps.

Deschamps, however, stressed that the collective mindset which was beyond reproach in Qatar, would be just as important as talent.

Deschamps will also have been pleased with the solid play of midfielders Aurelien Tchouameni and Adrien Rabiot, as well as centre backs Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konate.

Goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris said, “There are no words that will appease our pain but I think this tournament will serve us for the future, It’s a bit of a relay between a generation who are near the end of their career and a new generation led by Kylian, who showed what leader he could be in the tournament and in the final. We have to keep this France team at this level, with the best players on the world and European stage.”