France disappointed but proud of fight-back in epic World Cup final

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France are disappointed they could not successfully defend their World Cup crown after losing to Argentina on penalties in Sunday’s final but leave Qatar with heads high having fought until the end, players Raphael Varane and Hugo Lloris said.

France fought back twice through Kylian Mbappe, who erased Argentina’s 2-0 lead in 97 seconds in normal time before scoring a third in extra time to level it at 3-3. But the South Americans won 4-2 on penalties.

“We are very disappointed of course, we gave everything. We had to face a lot of obstacles during the competition, we gave up nothing,” Varane said. “For an hour we were not in the game. We could have won too. I’m very proud of this group and of being French. We keep our heads high. We came back in this game when it was complicated.

“We pushed and we believed until the end. We almost turned the game around, which was not going well… There was mental strength in this group, a lot of heart. That allowed us to come back in this game. We’re disappointed but also proud.”—INP