Meek France defeat could spell the end for ‘non-football’ of Didier Deschamps | Barney Ronay

Les Bleus never played like pre-tournament favourites but this defeat by Spain felt like the passing of an era

On a steamy night in Munich, France finally found a way to entertain the world at this European Championship. It turns out that France losing is really very gripping. Not least when the decisive figure in the game is a supercharged 16-year-old whose entire presence seems to express not just elite talent, but lightness, fun, the creative spirit.

France never played like pre-tournament favourites across their six matches in Germany. Here they were beaten by a superior team, far more incisive in their attacking, and supremely good at controlling the midfield. Defeat by Spain is one thing. This felt like something else too, perhaps even a passing on for the strangulation-football of the mature Didier Deschamps era.

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