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Attacking woes continue for Didier Deschamps as unimpressive France reach Euro 2024 quarterfinal

Attacking woes continue for Didier Deschamps as unimpressive France reach Euro 2024 quarterfinal

France's lack of finishing is concerning. If they don't improve soon, their luck is likely to run out

France managed to secure a place in the UEFA Euro 2024 quarter-finals with a narrow and largely unimpressive 1-0 win over Belgium in Dusseldorf on Monday. Despite their lackluster performance, Didier Deschamps’ men remain in the running for the title.

France reach Euro 2024 Quarterfinals for record time

France have reached the quarter-finals at the UEFA European Championship for a sixth time, with no side reaching the final eight on more occasions than Les Bleus (level with Spain and Portugal, before their last-16 encounter with Slovenia this evening).

France’s group-stage performances were underwhelming, leaving them with a potentially tricky last-16 opponent in Belgium. Although the Red Devils didn’t offer much offensively, the 2022 World Cup runners-up were not emphatic in their victory either. The breakthrough came five minutes from time when substitute Randal Kolo Muani’s shot forced an own goal, giving France a nervy win over a disappointing Belgium.

France’s attacking woes continue

Despite the return of Marcus Thuram and Antoine Griezmann to the starting XI, France continued to struggle in the final third. They maintained possession well and had a passing accuracy of 92.7% in the first half, the fourth-highest of any team in the opening 45 minutes of a match at this tournament.

France enjoyed nearly 60% possession in the first half and looked neat and tidy until the breakthrough. However, it took until the 85th minute for them to finally break the deadlock. Belgian defender Jan Vertonghen allowed Kolo Muani ample time to turn in the box and get a shot away, which deflected off Vertonghen and left goalkeeper Koen Casteels helpless.

Les Bleus yet to score from open play

This goal was emblematic of France’s Euro 2024 campaign so far. They have yet to score from open play, relying on two own goals (the other being against Austria) and a Kylian Mbappé penalty against Poland. France’s 44 final third entries were more than double Belgium’s 19, and they outshot the Red Devils 9-1. However, only one of those shots, a tame effort from Griezmann, was on target.

Attacking woes continue for Didier Deschamps as unimpressive France reach Euro 2024 quarterfinal with a win over Belgium

France’s ability to grind out wins is valuable, but they have essentially sleepwalked into the quarter-finals. They are now the first European team to reach the quarter-finals of a major international tournament having only scored via own goals or penalties.

While their resilience is commendable, France’s lack of finishing is concerning. If they don’t improve soon, their luck is likely to run out. Their performance against Belgium highlights the need for Deschamps’ side to wake up and find their scoring touch as they prepare for tougher challenges ahead in the tournament.

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