France players targeted in 'disgusting' fallout to World Cup heartache

France players Kingsley Coman and Aurelien Tchouameni were racially abused after missing their penalties in the World Cup final defeat to Argentina. Pic: Getty
France players Kingsley Coman and Aurelien Tchouameni were racially abused after missing their penalties in the World Cup final defeat to Argentina. Pic: Getty

The football world has spoken out in condemnation after two France stars were racially abused in the wake of their heartbreaking defeat to Argentina on penalties, in the World Cup final. Lionel Messi cemented his status as one of the greatest players the game has ever seen after scoring two goals and converting a spot-kick after the match ended 3-3 at the end of extra time in Qatar.

France superstar Kylian Mbappe became the first man to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final in 56 years but it was not enough to secure back-to-back-titles for Les Blues. The 4-2 shootout defeat was particularly heartbreaking for French pair Kingsley Coman and Aurelien Tchouameni, who were both unsuccessful from the spot.

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Coman was introduced as a 71st-minute substitute with France 2-0 down on Sunday, making a positive impact as Kylian Mbappe's hat-trick helped Les Bleus force spot-kicks at the end of a pulsating 3-3 draw. However, the winger was the first player to fail to convert in the shoot-out as Argentina keeper Emiliano Martinez made a strong save to his right, before Tchouameni put France's next kick wide.

In a disgusting aftermath to the defeat, the French players then found themselves at the centre of vile racist abuse online, as angry fans reacted to the defeat and looked for someone to blame. The shocking messages brought back ugly memories of English trio Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho all being racially vilified after missing spot-kicks against Italy in last year's European final.

Coman's club side Bayern Munich were quick to send out a message of support for their star and a swift condemnation of the disgraceful abuse that he and Tchouameni have been copping online. A statement issued via the Bundesliga champions' Twitter account read: "FC Bayern strongly condemn the racist comments made towards Kingsley Coman. The FC Bayern family is behind you, King. Racism has no place in sport or our society."

The football world also took aim at those who had racially abused the players online, labelling it "disgraceful" and "disgusting".

Karim Benzema retires from international football

In further fallout to France's World Cup defeat, Ballon D'Or winner Karim Benzema announced that he was calling time on his tumultuous international career. Benzema was injured before the tournament and played no part in Qatar, despite speculation before the final that he could make a late return for Didier Deschamps' side.

Benzema, who scored 37 goals in 97 appearances for France, had to withdraw from the World Cup squad before their first match in Qatar due to a left thigh injury he suffered in training. In his surprise announcement, the 35-year-old Real Madrid forward said on Twitter: "I made the effort and the mistakes it took to be where I am today and I'm proud of it! I wrote my story and ours ends."

Seen here, France striker Karim Benzema looks on during a training session at the Jassim-bin-Hamad Stadium in Doha.
France striker Karim Benzema revealed after the World Cup final that his journey with the national side is now over. Pic: Getty (FRANCK FIFE via Getty Images)

The 35-year-old won the Ballon d'Or award for the world's best player in October and was desperate to feature in this year's World Cup having not been selected when France became world champions in Russia four years ago. He was frozen out of the France team for five and a half years because of his involvement in a blackmail scandal over a sex tape involving his former teammate Mathieu Valbuena.

Benzema's departure, just three days before the first match against Australia, a 4-1 victory, was a turning point for the former Lyon player. A knock to his left thigh in training while he was recovering from a niggling right thigh problem was estimated to need a recovery time of three weeks.

However, his hasty departure from Qatar had fuelled speculation of a rift between him and the rest of the squad as well as Deschamps. Asked about the case of the striker, not replaced and officially on the squad list until the end of the tournament, Deschamps had insisted "these things are not on my mind".

The FIFA World Cup 2022 is on SBS and SBS on Demand

with agencies

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