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Deschamps: If France is boring you, go watch something else

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MUNICH (AP) — A boring France team? Coach Didier Deschamps doesn’t care.

Tuesday’s European Championship semifinal between Spain and France is a matchup of very different styles.

You can watch France battle Spain in the first semifinal Tuesday at 3pm ET on TSN 1/4 and streaming on TSN.ca or the TSN App. 

One team is playing some of the most exciting soccer at Euro 2024, and the other is playing arguably the dullest.

A team that has won all five of its matches, against a team that has won just two (excluding Friday’s penalty shootout victory over Portugal ).

A team that has scored a tournament high 11 goals, against a team whose players have yet to score from open play — having notched two own goals and a penalty.

“If we’re boring you, you can watch something else, it doesn’t matter,” Deschamps said on Monday when asked about criticism of his team’s form.

“It’s a very particular European Championship, with less goals than normal. We have the chance to make France happy, in a delicate situation for the country. If (others) are bored, I don’t really care.”

France has underwhelmed and captain Kylian Mbappé is frustrated as he tries to adapt to wearing a vision-limiting face mask after breaking his nose in the opening match.

Also being called out for France’s lack of a cutting edge in attack is Antoine Griezmann, who has played in two positions — central midfield and on the right wing — and was even dropped for the group closer against Poland.

“We have 100% blind faith in (Mbappé and Griezmann) we know they are players that can change a match in an instant,” midfielder Adrien Rabiot said on Monday.

“We will need them … we are all very surprised as we know Antoine’s quality. I don’t know how to explain it, maybe he is a bit less well physically. We were expecting a lot more from Antoine but we are behind all of our players.”

In contrast to France’s dour quarterfinal against Portugal — which Les Bleus won 5-3 on penalties after the match ended 0-0 — Spain beat Germany 2-1 in a dramatic encounter, won by a goal in the last minute of extra time.

That match pitted two of the most exciting teams in the tournament.

“We’re unanimous in saying that Spain is the team that is playing the best at this tournament,” Rabiot said. “It’s a complete team and has a lot of strengths but also weaknesses.

“We know what we have to do … we have to see how they play against us because a lot of teams change their game when they come up against France.”

And while France has been poor up front, it has been as exceptional at the back, allowing just one goal, a retaken penalty by Poland’s Robert Lewandowski in the group stage.

Monday marked Deschamps’ 12-year anniversary on the France bench. There would be no better way to celebrate it than by getting Les Bleus to its fourth major final in eight years.

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AP Euro 2024: https://apnews.com/hub/euro-2024