France manager Didier Deschamps admitted that the illness in the camp cost them the title.
“We utterly failed to show up in the 1st half. We expected (their intensity), we neither had the correct attitude nor the correct response,” said Deschamps after the final.
“There were many reasons which explained why we were not as good. Several important players had less energy but bringing on younger players with less experience but plenty of freshness and quality allowed us to keep dreaming.
“But unfortunately the dream did not come true.”
Subscriber Only Stories
Adrien Rabiot and Dayot Upamecano both returned after missing the semi-final win over Morocco due to illness. Raphael Varane started having missed training on Friday with cold-like symptoms but the sluggish performance of Deschamps’ team for long spells suggested others were also struggling.
“The whole squad had had to face up to a difficult situation. Did that have a physical or psychological impact? Maybe, I don’t know,” said Deschamps, who had hoped to become the first coach to win two World Cups since Italy’s Vittorio Pozzo in the 1930s.
“I wasn’t worried for the players who started, but maybe it was just the matches catching up with us, and we had four days to prepare, one day fewer than them.
“These are not excuses but we were not as dynamic as we had been and that was why it was practically not a contest for an hour.”
With his team trailing 2-0 at half-time, Deschamps said he had been so angry in the dressing room that he hurt a finger, which was covered with a plaster as he spoke to reporters.
“I lost a bit of my finger at half-time. That happens to me sometimes — you have to cause a few ripples and try to turn things around.
“We were not at our best physically and it happened against a team who were playing a World Cup final. I didn’t get the impression that we were.”