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Three years ago, France and Kylian Mbappe were at the top of the world.
The country has just won the World Cup, and the striker was named the best young player of the competition at the age of 19, which culminated in a great performance in the victory over Croatia in the final.
Continue until the summer of 2021, and Mbappe missed the decisive penalty that left France out of Euro 2020 in the round of 16 by huge Swiss outsiders.
As the French daily L’Equipe noted in the headline on their website: “Fall from so high.”
For Mbappe, this will surely be a small setback in what is becoming an outstanding career – but is there a reason why he and his world champion teammates looked so bad and headed home?
Mbappe in the middle of a nightmare
Mbappe entered the tournament scoring 41 goals for the club and the state last season, including winning the French Cup with Paris St-Germain.
But his Euro campaign was a tournament to forget, as he failed to score in any of his four games, with his 14 shots without a net any player has had the most so far.
The 22-year-old had a responsibility to take the fifth penalty against Switzerland, but he saw a rather tame effort that saved Yann Sommer excellently.
Eurosport.fr, in their player ratings, they suggested that Mbappe was “in the middle of a nightmare”, while Chris Sutton said on BBC Radio 5 Live that he “changed his line at the most moment and did not step up”.
Former England defender Gary Neville told ITV: “You just knew while Mbappe was walking. You thought‘ oh no. ’He had a few moments in overtime, but it just didn’t go his way.
“He strives to be the best player in the world like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, but this is a small obstacle for him. He will go through it.
“It’s hard for him in this tournament and it’s going to be hard to take him as well as his French team.”
Mbappe did not impress the audience in the game either – his score from 4.44 onwards BBC Sport rating player was above just 4.33 for defender Clement Lenglet, who was substituted at half-time.
French boss Didier Deschamps said: “Kylian Mbappe is incredibly sad, as are all the players, but no one can be upset with him because he has taken responsibility for taking the fifth penalty.”
‘There was no communion’
France have lost just one of their last 17 European Championship and World Cup matches, a defeat by Portugal in the 2016 final.
Such was their impressive form, 12 out of 15 BBC experts predicted that France would win the tournament.
“It’s my responsibility and I told the players I guess so,” said Deschamps, who won the 2018 World Cup with France, after a shock defeat.
“When France wins, the credit always goes to the players. When things are less good, then it’s my responsibility. But that’s the sport. You have to accept it even if it hurts.”
Former France midfielder Patrick Vieira was sharp in the team’s assessment, saying on ITV: “The best team deserves to advance to the next round, and tonight it is the Swiss.
“It was a bad French national team. There was no togetherness, there was no spirit. We didn’t play as a team so we didn’t deserve to advance to the next round.”