Manager Didier Deschamps was livid with Jules Kounde wearing a gold chain in France’s FIFA World Cup last 16 clash against Poland on December 4.
The Barcelona centre-back started the game sporting a chain around his neck which was clearly visible even from afar. The referees seemed to have missed it before kick-off.
He was then asked to take it off in the opening stages of the game and Deschamps was left highly irritated by the centre-back’s stunt. Speaking after the game, the French tactician said:
“He has no right. I don’t know what he has on his chain, I know that Jules has a bit of a superstition, he has it in training. I don’t know the meaning. I even told him – ‘You’re lucky you’re not in front of me, or else…”
“The referee had told us that as soon as there was a stoppage in play… players are not allowed to wear a bracelet or a necklace. They’re not going to start wearing watches or sunglasses either. It’s not allowed. I thought he was taking it off but apparently that wasn’t the case.”
France cruised to a 3-1 win against the Poles courtesy of Olivier Giroud’s 44th-minute striker and Kylian Mbappe’s second-half brace. Robert Lewandowski scored nine minutes into stoppage time via a penalty to secure a consolation goal for his team.
Kounde was impressive and exited the field seven minutes before his Barcelona teammate’s goal for the Poles. France are spoilt for options in central defense, which is why the former Sevilla defender played as a right-back in the game.
He plied his trade in that position for Barca earlier this campaign and fans could see him continue to feature down that flank again.
France manager full of praise for Kylian Mbappe after heroics vs. Poland
France came into the 2022 FIFA World Cup without Karim Benzema and Christopher Nkunku, who were ruled out with injuries.
Deschamps opted not to replace the injured Real Madrid centre-forward and carried on with a 25-man squad, citing trust in the players he had in his team. One French player reportedly claimed to a family member that Mbappe was now the main man in the team after Benzema’s withdrawal.
Mbappe has scored five times, including two second-half goals against Poland, and looks set to win the Golden Boot in the tournament.
Speaking after a wonderful performance from the Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) striker, Deschamps said (h/t Sportstar):
“He (Mbappe) speaks on the football pitch. He knows that himself but he can change a match in just a moment. He is always playing with such joy. France needed a great Kylian Mbappe tonight and they got one.”
France will face the winner of England vs. Senegal in the quarter-finals.