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Euro 2020: Pogba 'lost the plot' in France's defeat by Switzerland

  /  autty

Emmanuel Petit has accused Paul Pogba of losing his head during France's Euro 2020 exit at the hands of Switzerland, before slamming the world champions as 'average'.

Pogba scored a sublime third goal for France to put them 3-1 up with 10 minutes remaining, but a lapse in concentration on the ball saw him go from hero to zero as the Swiss took advantage of his mistake to make it 3-2.

The mistake saw Adrien Rabiot confront Pogba, while the French media are reporting that the players' respective families squabbled in the stands over the goal, which ultimately cost Didier Deschamps' side a place in the quarter-finals.

Switzerland would go on to score a last-minute equaliser and then triumph in the penalty shootout to seal a famous victory but cracks are now beginning to show which has left Petit to blast his compatriots.

‘There was one incident – Pogba lost the ball for the second Swiss goal – and France collapsed,' Petit told PaddyPower. 'We lost everything. Concentration, team spirit, desire – and the tie.

‘Worst of all, we started fighting on the pitch between ourselves. There was a big clash between Rabiot and Pogba, who lost the plot, after the second Swiss goal and from then on we had no control, no confidence.

‘We looked average – it’s hard to explain. Mbappe was asking for more responsibilities before the tournament, and there were stories about not passing the ball to Giroud.

‘There was even fighting in the stands between Rabiot, Mbappe and Pogba’s families after the second goal – Rabiot’s mother said Mbappe’s big head is spoiling the team. Then Mbappe penalty is saved in the shootout.

‘We looked so far away from the World Cup-winning team. It reminds me of our team in 2002, when we went out in the group stage of the World Cup. It’s a real shame because it doesn’t need to be like this.’

While arguments between the players on the pitch were there for all to see, the cracks began to show shortly before the tournament started.

The first sign of discontent within the squad came to light following their friendly victory over Bulgaria, in which Mbappe was angered by comments made by Giroud regarding the quality of service he receives.

Moreover, heated exchanges between family members of the squad demonstrated that all is not well within the French camp.

And L'Equipe has provided an in-depth analysis into the bitter atmosphere within the 26-man party, ultimately leading to their untimely exit from the competition.

The French outlet described how Giroud's post-match interview with L'Equipe 'ignited' a feud between the Chelsea striker and Mbappe, in which he said: 'You say that I haven't been seen much but maybe we could have found each other better.'

Mbappe was understood to have been infuriated by Giroud's comment, and although the veteran striker maintained that the remark was not directed solely at him, the PSG star demanded that he call a press conference to give his side of the story.

Despite Giroud's repeated assertions that the comment was not aimed at him, Mbappe failed to temper his rage, to the annoyance of senior players such as Steve Mandanda, Hugo Lloris and Moussa Sissoko, who had reportedly grown tired of seeing the 22-year-old 'sulk'.

L'Equipe says that the fallout between Mbappe and Giroud 'marked the borders within the twenty-six', and the restless stars soon became annoyed with their hotel facilities and family restrictions.

While the likes of England, Italy and Spain have enjoyed playing the majority of their games in their home countries, France have been required to travel to Munich, Budapest and Bucharest for their games this tournament.

As a result, the players have not had a large base camp to settle and have been dissatisfied with their accommodation, particularly in Budapest where they stayed at the Marriott Hotel.

Pogba reportedly asked for the squad to stay 50 kilometres away in Gardony at a facility that overlooks a lake. However, the French remained at the Marriott where they are understood to have felt confined as a result of the bedroom windows not being openable.

The squad were also said to have been disappointed in being unable to see their families for much of the tournament.

The players argued that the Belgian and Spanish squads had been able to spend time with their loved ones, but the French Football Federation denied their pleas, reasoning that doing so would have health implications as a result of Covid bubble protocols.

Meanwhile, the exit of Ousmane Dembele, who was forced to withdraw from the squad due to an injury picked up in the group stage, served as a hammer blow to the team's morale.

Dembele, alongside Pogba, is one of the few players able to socialise with all members of the squad, with the Barcelona star understood to get on well with Mbappe, Giroud, Antoine Griezmann and Karim Benzema.

The attacker visited the camp before their game against Hungary which served as a morale boost for the disgruntled squad.

These factors came to a head in Bucharest, as France spectacularly fell apart to be dumped out of the Euros in the biggest shock of the tournament thus far.

In the aftermath of the game, Veronique Rabiot, mother of midfielder Adrien, reportedly told Mbappe's father to 'reframe his son and make him less arrogant'.

She is also said to have asked Pogba's family how he could have lost possession in midfield before the Swiss team countered and found the back of the net.

And according to French Football News, players were involved in rows during the defeat in Romania, with multiple flare ups occurring as Didier Deschamps' side fell to defeat.

The French outlet reports that Rabiot and Pogba insulted each other throughout the match, with the Juventus star unhappy with the Man United midfielder's defensive workrate.

Real Madrid star Raphael Varane lambasted Benjamin Pavard for his poor defending. The Bayern Munich defender later blasted Pogba for not contributing defensively and Varane is said to have sided with Pavard during this exchange.

After the game, Varane attempted to bring the shell-shocked team together in the dressing room, while Deschamps vowed to bear the brunt of the criticism to come from the press and public.

The coach reportedly told the squad to turn their focus to the upcoming international fixtures in September and is understood to have said: 'Respect each other, always!'

The reported on-field rows adds to the heated exchanges between the players' families in Bucharest.

The families of other French stars were said to be 'shocked' by Veronique Rabiot's outburst and the timing of it, given they had just watched their relatives crash out of the tournament.

Mbappe has since apologised for missing the crucial penalty in his nation's shootout defeat by Switzerland.

He failed to score a goal during the entirety of the tournament and stepped up to take the fifth spot-kick with the underdogs having converted all of theirs, but his strike was parried away by Yann Sommer.

With Switzerland's players wildly celebrating around him, Mbappe cut an isolated figure as he walked off the field in the Romanian capital.

'Nobody can be annoyed with him. When you take the responsibility, it can happen. He is obviously very affected by it,' Deschamps said in a staunch defence of the PSG star.

On his future, he added: 'That is not the question. There is a unity and solidarity in this squad. I am responsible, when things go badly, I am with them, they are with me.

'We will need time to manage this. There are no magic formulas, there are balances for us to find in the future.'