A revamped France team slumped to a defeat for their final group stage encounter, as a spirited Tunisia team narrowly missed out on a spot in the knockout rounds after dominating convincingly this afternoon.
The first half saw Les Bleus’ B team struggle to adapt to both their new positions and the stage they were on, as a Tunisia side with everything to play for constantly threatened. Despite Randal Kolo Muani’s best efforts, there was scarcely any breathing room for France to attack, and the only bright point being Ibrahima Konaté’s imperious performance at the back – a stark contract to Eduardo Camavinga struggling to adapt at left-back.
The dynamics of the game hardly improved for the French in the second half, as Aïssa Laïdouni ran the show, notably winning the ball back off a woeful Youssouf Fofana to set up Wahbi Khazri’s opener, just before the Montpellier man was brought off. Deschamps did bring on some of the rested starters in Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann – the latter equalising in the 99th minute before the goal was disallowed.
In the end, it’s a match which leaves the French manager with even more questions than before regarding the depth of his squad.
France player ratings v Tunisia
Steve Mandanda, 5
Axel Disasi, 5 – Like Camavinga, the central defender was starting in an unfamiliar full-back role, for his first international start no less. Offered far more solidity than Camavinga but unsurprisingly little going forward.
Raphaël Varane, 4
Ibrahima Konaté, 8 – The only assured performance out of France’s backline in the first half, and continued to be solid in the second even when the rest of the defence was collapsing around him. A massive improvement from his shaky showing in the first game. Enough to win back a starting spot?
Eduardo Camavinga, 4 – The caveat here being that the Real Madrid man has only been playing in the left-back position for about a week. The central midfielder by trade was positionally at sea and unable to keep up with Tunisia’s blistering attacks, which patently targeted his side of the pitch. Somewhat grew in confidence as the game went on – but this is by no means a defining performance of what is sure to be a long and successful France career. Didier Deschamps surely regrets not calling up another full-back, though. Replaced by Antoine Griezmann (6), who thought he had scored a late equaliser with an assured close-range finish.
Jordan Veretout, 4
Aurélien Tchouaméni, 6 – France’s best midfielder tonight, not his best performance but did manage to introduce some stability and some effective passing between defence and attack.
Youssouf Fofana, 2 – The Monaco man doesn’t have the excuse of not playing in his usual position – constantly losing the ball and decidedly unable to keep up with the Tunisian press, in particular on Khazri’s goal.
Mattéo Guendouzi, 4
Kingsley Coman, 4 – Unable to make much of an impact given how isolated he and Kolo Muani were. Replaced by Kylian Mbappé, who tried to take matters into his own hands but it was too little too late.
Randal Kolo Muani, 5 – Some tireless work up front but very little in terms of chances, a difficult match to judge the Eintracht Frankfurt man on.
GFFN | Raphaël Jucobin