In what was the greatest day of international football we have ever witnessed, Switzerland dumped France out on penalties as Kylian Mbappe missed the decisive spot-kick to keep Les Bleus in the game.

Let’s not waste any more time because there’s so much to talk about.

The better team won

Let’s have it right, this wasn’t a fluke. And to those who think so, that is downright disrespectful to the brilliance of this Swiss generation that exudes graft and grace in equal measure.

You would have expected Switzerland to call it a day after Haris Seferovic’s opener, sitting back for the remaining 75 minutes and hoping for the best like the Belgians. Instead, they recycled possession constantly and instead of rushing to hurt France on the break, slowed the tempo down and made the world champions chase shadows while they looked immensely assured in possession.

Les Bleus’ flurry of goals, via a stunning Karim Benzema brace and Paul Pogba finding the postage stamp were flashes of brilliance as their feared front 3 finally woke up from their slumber. But aside from 20-odd minute spell, France were disjointed, lackadaisical in their press and showed zero innovation with the ball.

Switzerland, on the other hand stuck to their plan and their calculated inventiveness deservedly got them back into the swings of things, through a Seferovic second and Mario Gavranovic making Presnel Kimpembe look like a cartoon.

Swiss substance won over the French’s style.

Thanks to Xhaka and Pogba, we witnessed midfield masterclasses

Ever since his arrival to Arsenal from Gladbach, there aren’t many players that have been slated as much as Granit Xhaka. And as he is on the cusp of a reported move to Roma, one can say he does bring it on himself.

But for his national side, even his retractors would be willing to accept that Xhaka is a different animal. Operating in his usual deep-lying playmaker as Robert Freuler was putting the yards in, the Swiss captain dictated the contest, finding line-breaking passes, being incredibly press resistant while pressing forward to win tackles constantly.

This was as complete a performance as you’ll see from a midfielder in the competition, especially against a team as stacked as France in a knockout tie. Deservedly, the Man of the Match on a night where both defensively and offensively, Xhaka was unplayable.

And what do you even say about Paul Pogba at this point? As heartwarming as this Swiss triumph is, you can’t help but feel gutted about Pogba ending up on the losing side, considering he has undoubtedly been the shoe-in for the Golden Ball up until this point.

Once again, he was far and away France’s standout player. Didier Deschamps has utilized his unbelievable passing range as a cheat code throughout the Euros and even for the resolute Swiss backline, the World Cup winner’s through balls were impossible to deal with.

And seemingly impossible for his frontmen to finish as well, with Kylian Mbappe missing a gilt-edged chance from a pass so glorious off Pogba’s right foot, it deserved to be in the back of the net.

And what do you even say about that goal? A box-office strike from a box-office footballer, simple as. Or his penalty in the shootout, which was literally the perfect spot-kick, right in the top bins. You can’t not be thrilled when you talk about the mesmeric midfielder.

Barring him losing the ball in the build-up to Switzerland’s 91st minute equalizer, which was undeniably lax, the lad was immense and has carried his nation’s hopes on his own back while the rest didn’t get the memo.

All in all, we witnessed two much-maligned operators silencing their critics on the biggest stage.

Deschamps has blood on his hands, not Mbappe

Mbappe had a poor Euro 2020 but this was coming, France

If Lionel Messi can miss a penalty in the Copa America final, anyone can and that includes Kylian Mbappe. And sure, a lad who truly has been burdened with glorious purpose (Ian Wright, I hope you’re reading) has been a let down at the Euros. But it happens.

Didier Deschamps playing a back 3 out of nowhere and criminally starting Clement Lenglet out of all people in the centre of his defence is baffling to say the least. With the stellar Jules Kounde on the bench, a centre-half as error-ridden as Lenglet starting in a knockout tie defies logic. Unsurprisingly, the Blaugrana central defender got bullied by Seferovic for Switzerland’s opener.

And this harks back to his odd selections for the competition.

With all due respect, the likes of Clement Lenglet, someone who’s had a shocking season for Barcelona and the out-of-favour Kurt Zouma getting on the plane instead of both Dayot Upamecano, Ibrahima Konate as well as even a Maxence Lacroix beggars belief.

The same can be said for Moussa Sissoko, who has been deemed not to be at the level of a Spurs side that finished 8th in the Premier League and yet, not only makes his way to the 26-man squad but replaces Les Bleus’ most crucial attacker in Antoine Griezmann?

And is simply stuck on the right-wing to be thrown under the bus in pieces like these while Griezmann’s unstoppable workrate would have been worth it’s weight in gold with France doing everything to protect their 2-goal cushion.

Deschamps had a howler and to make things worse, France have been torturous to watch and have failed the eye-test constantly, despite having the most enviable talent pool of proven champions by a country mile.

Mbappe is 22 years old and has been virtually flawless ever since he burst onto the scene. Cut him some slack as Deschamps escapes in broad daylight from a managerial disasterclass.

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