Once again, as in the final of the 2006 World Cup and in the round of 16 of Euro 2021, France missed their penalty shootout against Argentina, this Sunday, in the final of the World Cup in Qatar ( 3-3, 4-2 at tab).
Les Bleus haven't won a match this way since the 1998 World Cup quarter-final against Italy.
The French goalkeepers (Fabien Barthez and Hugo Lloris) have taken the last 14 shots on goal from opponents.
Yes, it's very, very easy to say afterwards.
Especially at the end of a World Cup final like this indescribable display France - Argentina (3-3, 2-4 on penalties) in a way that even the most lit scriptwriter of Bollywood would never have dared to propose.
But when Randal Kolo Muani failed in front of Emiliano Martinez at the very end of extra time, we said to ourselves that despite the scent of the unreal which bathed the Lusail stadium this Sunday, the Blues could not win.
Because seasoned shooters like Olivier Giroud or Antoine Griezmann had been off the pitch for ages, when their team seemed more set to take a good one than to come back from 0-2 to 2-2, then from 2-3 to 3 -3 by the grace of Kylian Mbappé, author of two penalties in the match then a shot on goal, after the fatal miss last year in the round of 16 of the Euro against Switzerland (3-3, 5 -4 to tabs).
But also because Hugo Lloris.
The captain of the now ex-world champions, national record holder of selections (145), is a superb goalkeeper, and released a competition and even a final that his unspecified start to the season did not necessarily suggest.
But when the decisive hour comes, when he finds himself facing a shooter 11 meters from him, his cage seems too big for his size, however substantial (1.88 m, 82 kg), while the Argentinian Martinez certainly larger and more massive (1.95 m, 85 kg) takes up all the space.
Martinez already decisive in the quarter-finals
Already decisive in the quarter against the Netherlands (two Dutch attempts repelled), after a meeting with a scenario curiously comparable to this final (2-2, 4-3 on pens), the Aston Villa goalkeeper pushed back the attempt by Kingsley Coman and forced Aurélien Tchouaméni to strike wide.
That of Tottenham took it all, giving off the same feeling of helplessness as during the Swiss disappointment at Euro 2021.
Or Fabien Barthez after the 2006 World Cup final against Italy (1-1, 5-3 on tab).
Or, even further, than Jean-Luc Ettori at the end of the stifling semi-final against the FRG, during the 1982 World Cup (3-3, 5-4 on the pens), even if we forget that the Monegasque had managed to repel an attempt, that of Uli Stielike.
Incredible to think that the last 14 shots on goal against France in a major tournament (Argentina 2022, Switzerland 2021, Italy 2006) have all been scored.
The last missed shot on goal against France was Di Biagio in 1998, 24 years ago...
— Eric Maggiori (@ericmaggiori) December 18, 2022
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The stat is terrible: France has conceded the last 14 shots on goal that have been struck against it during a World Cup or a Euro.
To find traces of a failure against France, we must go back to the rise of Aimé Jacquet's Blues to their first star, in 1998, during the quarter-final won against Squadra Azzurra (0-0, 4-3 at tab): a strike from Luigi di Biagio on the crossbar, which came after a shot from Demetrio Albertini saved by Barthez.
“My stop in front of Albertini?
I consider that a penalty saved by a goalkeeper is above all a badly taken penalty!
“, Will let go of the divine bald much later, on the FIFA website, about the only French victory on penalties in the history of the World Cup.
The motto remains unfortunately this Sunday that of the French doormen, and pushes the supporters of the Blues to pray that an opposing player is willing to unscrew his shot at the crucial moment.
But for 24 years, whether it's Trezeguet in 2006, Mbappé in 2021 or Coman and Tchouaméni today, the error has always come from our camp.
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World Cup 2022
France football team