It was a dramatic final that barely let the French manager exhale until the final whistle, but as that whistle rang, it brought a moment of history as the 49-year-old joined Franz Beckenbauer and Mario Zagallo as the only people to win the World Cup as both player and manager.
Here’s an analysis of how Deschamps fared on Sunday.
Goals – 4
Shots – 7
Shots on target – 6
Possession – 34%
Pass Accuracy – 68%
France lined up in a familiar 4-2-3-1, with the tactics they’d been using throughout the tournament – sitting deep, soaking up the pressure and ready to spring a counter. Indeed, Croatia were ideal opponents for Deschamps, who has made this France team content to let their opposition have the ball.
It was nonetheless a risky strategy and for the entire first half France weren’t in the game. Yet they led 2-1 at the end before running away with the game in the second period.
TACTICAL TALKING POINT
This was the rare game where N’Golo Kante’s impact was limited – he had fewer touches than anyone else in the first half – and it was to Deschamps’ credit that he acted swiftly in taking his ever-reliable midfielder off soon after the break.
That France scored twice so quickly after Steven N’Zonzi came on, both from surging runs in midfield, was telling. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say the game changed on that substitution.
Deschamps has been criticised for putting the handbrakes on this thrilling French team too much, but on Sunday he earned the ultimate vindication. His style has led Les Bleus to a second World Cup trophy, an accolade no one will ever take away from him.
That it added to his personal collection, having won the trophy as a player, only added to his reputation, and it’s safe to say no manager has emerged with his reputation more enhanced this summer.
RATING – 8/10
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