The recently concluded Round of 16 matches in the ongoing UEFA European Championship saw France crashing out of the tournament against Switzerland on Tuesday. The Swiss defeated the world champions in a penalty shootout (5-4) victory and with it won a spot in the quarterfinals of a major soccer tournament for the first time in 67 years.
While it was the biggest win for Swiss football in a long time, it was also the case of disharmony in the French squad as rivalries between players had been brewing for a while. However, after their disastrous exit from this summer’s European Championship, French publication L’Equipe has unearthed explosive details about the differences among Didier Deschamps’ men, especially among the group of star-studded names.
According to their report, discontent, heated exchanges within the squad had long been brewing even before the tournament started. One of the first signs of it emerged following their friendly victory over Bulgaria, in which star man Kylian Mbappe was angered by comments made by another star striker Olivier Giroud. Giroud’s post-match interview may have ‘ignited’ the feud between the Chelsea striker and Mbappe.
The Paris Saint-Germain star was infuriated by Giroud’s comment, even though the remark was not solely directed at him. However, despite Giroud’s repeated apologies/assertions, Mbappe refused to accept any thereby making the matters worse within the camp. The fallout between the two even led to senior players reportedly fed up with Mbappe’s ‘sulking’ attitude around the Euro camp.
It doesn’t end there, according to French Football News, a number of players and their families were at loggerheads during the Switzerland clash. The publication reported how Adrien Rabiot was left furious with Paul Pogba’s defensive efforts and the pair’s eventual verbal spat insulting each other. The report mentioned that Rabiot’s mother, Veronique who is also his agent asked Pogba’s family how he could have lost possession in midfield before the Swiss team countered and found the back of the net.
She had reportedly also got involved in a verbal spat with Mbappe‘s father at the end of the match, followed by a “heated exchange" with Mbappe’s mother, Fayza Lamari. She allegedly told Mbappe’s father to ‘reframe him’ and make him ‘less arrogant’.
The report also cited another aspect, that the restless stars soon became annoyed with their hotel facilities and family restrictions as well. They were dissatisfied with their accommodation including the hotel accommodation in Bucharest where they stayed and were unable to open their windows.
The squad were also said to have been disappointed for not being able to see their families for much of the tournament. They argued that the Belgian and Spanish players were able to spend time with their loved ones, but the French Football Federation denied their pleas citing COVID-19 protocols.