Benjamin Pavard was criticized by his French teammates, including Ousmane Dembele, as coach Didier Deschamps revealed that the defender was not in the right state of mind to play in the Tunisia match yesterday.
Pavard started France’s opening World Cup match, but was at fault for Australia’s goal after failing to track Craig Goodwin into the penalty area.
The 26-year-old received “harsh words” from Deschamps after the match, according to L’Equipe. Pavard’s performance was also criticized by some of his teammates, with Barcelona winger Dembele reportedly among those who attacked the defender.
Support has come from veterans of the team, suggesting a split within the France camp.
Captain Hugo Lloris, 35, and striker Oliver Giroud, 36, have reportedly offered their support for the Bayern Munich star.
Pavard lost his place in France’s starting line-up for their second group stage match against Denmark, with Jules Conde preferred by Deschamps.
Deschamps opted to make nine substitutions for yesterday’s match against Tunisia with the qualification for the knockout stages already assured.
The 54-year-old, who oversaw France’s 2018 World Cup-winning squad, preferred not to return Pavard to the much-changed squad.
Monaco centre-back Axel Desassi made his senior debut for his country as a substitute for Conde, with Deschamps looking to shield the defender from a potential ban.
Deschamps explained his decision to drop Pavard in a post-match press conference, claiming the defender was not “in a fit condition” to play against Tunisia.
“I made a decision not to play with him and I won’t go into details,” Deschamps said. I’ve had several conversations with him. I do not consider it in the correct position. So you’ll ask me – is it my body, is it in my head? The first match didn’t help, of course. That’s why I made a different choice.”
The French team, which witnessed many changes, suffered a surprising 1-0 defeat against Tunisia, its first defeat in the World Cup since 2014.
Source: Daily Mail