Didier Deschamps has said that he will take his time before deciding on whether he will stay on as France manager after his team lost to Argentina in a dramatic World Cup final on Sunday.
Lionel Messi and Argentina beat the reigning champions 4-2 on penalties at the Lusail Stadium in Doha after a thrilling 120 minutes of action had finished 3-3.
Deschamps' side had fought back from 2-0 and 3-2 down, thanks to a hat-trick from Kylian Mbappe, before misses from Kingsley Coman and Aurelian Tchouameni handed the South Americans a 4-2 shoot-out win.
The prevented Deschamps – who captained Les Bleus to glory in 1998 – from becoming the first coach to win the World Cup twice since Vittorio Pozzo in the 1930s. It also meant France failed in their bid to become the first team in 60 years to retain the trophy.
The 54-year-old, in charge since 2012, is now out of contract but French Football Federation President Noel Le Graet had said Deschamps would be offered new terms if he reached the semi-finals.
Asked whether the result of the final would influence a decision on his future, Deschamps said: “Even with a different result I would not have given an answer today.”
“Obviously I am very sad. I will have a meeting with the president at the start of the new year and you will know after that,” he added.
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It was a rollercoaster evening for both countries in what many observers have called the greatest World Cup final of all time.
First-half goals from Messi and Angel Di Maria had put Argentina firmly in the driving seat, sparking Deschamps into making a double substitution before the break with Marcus Thuram and Randal Kolo Muani replacing Olivier Giroud and Dembele.
But it took a quick-fire Mbappe double ten minutes from time to turn the game on its head and force extra-time, in which the Paris Saint-Germain striker scored again from a penalty to complete his hat-trick and make it 3-3 after Messi had put the opposition back in front.
“We were not as good in the first 60 minutes against top-quality opponents who had a lot more energy, but we came back from nowhere and turned the game around from a very difficult situation. That leaves us with even more regrets,” admitted Deschamps.
Muani was denied a last-gasp winner by goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez in extra-time, and Argentina then won the shoot-out, with Coman seeing his penalty saved and Tchouameni missing the target.
“We had a chance to win the World Cup in the last minute but it wasn't to be,” Deschamps said. “At 2-0 there would not have been the same regrets, you just say 'bravo' to them.
“I don't want to take any merit away from Argentina but there were lots and lots of emotions and it was cruel at the end because we were so close.”
Deschamps suggested that the virus which laid low several of his players in the run-up to the final was partly to blame for their poor performance over the first hour.
“There were many reasons which explained why we were not as good. Several important players had less energy but bringing on younger players with less experience but plenty of freshness and quality allowed us to keep dreaming.
“But unfortunately the dream did not come true.”
Adrien Rabiot and Dayot Upamecano both returned after missing the semi-final win over Morocco due to illness.
Raphael Varane started having missed training on Friday with cold-like symptoms but the sluggish performance of Deschamps' team for long spells suggested others were also struggling.
“The whole squad had had to face up to a difficult situation. Did that have a physical or psychological impact? Maybe, I don't know,” said Deschamps.
“I wasn't worried for the players who started, but maybe it was just the matches catching up with us, and we had four days to prepare, one day fewer than them.
“These are not excuses but we were not as dynamic as we had been and that was why it was practically not a contest for an hour.”