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France on a tightrope as knockout phase looms

"Another tournament is starting now," said Deschamps – which may come as a relief to France watchers after Wednesday's performance.

December 01, 2022 / 04:00 PM IST

While France's 1-0 loss to Tunisia after fielding a reserve team should have no bearing on the defending champions' future at the World Cup, their final Group D game on Wednesday showed that they are walking on a tight rope.

Les Bleus, who face Poland in the last 16 on Sunday, underperformed at the Education City stadium and only after Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele came off the bench did they pose any threat.

Griezmann even scored what he thought was an equaliser eight minutes into stoppage time, only for referee Matthew Cogan to rule the goal out for offside following a VAR review after the final whistle, triggering a complaint from the French federation.

Until then, with Deschamps having made nine changes to the team who secured their spot in the knockout phase with a 2-1 win against Denmark, France looked clueless and were overwhelmed in the midfield.