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Benjamin Pavard’s starting status in question for France vs. Portugal

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Pavard could be benched by Didier Deschamps for France’s final group stage match.

Hungary v France - UEFA European Championship - Group F Photo by Baptiste Fernandez/Icon Sport via Getty Images

Benjamin Pavard is in danger of being relegated to the bench for France’s final Euro 2020 group stage match against Portugal this week. The Bayern Munich defender caused a great deal of controversy with the French medical staff’s handling of his head injury in the 1-0 win over Germany when Robin Gosens clattered into him and he also suffered a knock in yesterday’s 1-1 draw with Hungary at a full Puskas Arena.

Speaking to French outlet Telefoot (via L’Equipe), France manager Didier Deschamps revealed that he very well could've taken Pavard off yesterday had he known all of the details of his early fall in the first half of the draw. “He had a very bad fall early in the match which had an impact, the players when they are on the pitch they want to stay there, even when they are on one leg,” Deschamps said.

Deschamps felt that Pavard didn’t necessarily reveal the severity of the knock he sustained from the fall early in the first half, and thus, that’s why he didn’t think to take him off. In hindsight, that proved to be a mistake because Pavard struggled for large periods and was beaten for pace by Hungary’s Attila Fiola for their goal just before the halftime whistle had blown. “It is true that with hindsight, but it was totally the opposite (of the French bench) and as Benjamin did not communicate on his state in relation to this fall, I could have taken him out, I did not have the information. Even if in a match when we are behind, I prefer to keep the replacements for the offensive phase, I could have (released it), I did not do it,” Deschamps explained.

HUNGARY-BUDAPEST-FOOTBALL-EURO 2020-FRA VS HUN Photo by Attila Volgyi/Xinhua via Getty Images

Of course, Deschamps had already made one defensive change to the starting lineup, bringing in Everton’s Lucas Digne for Bayern’s Lucas Hernandez, who had sustained a knock during a training session in the buildup to the Hungary match. If Pavard is unable to go vs. Portugal, he would likely be replaced by Sevilla’s Jules Kounde at right back.

Deschamps was also asked about the concussion protocol for Pavard’s clash with Gosens in the win over Germany that had received a great deal of criticism. He had trained with the team in the days after the Gosens collision, and Deschamps affirmed that there was no indication that he shouldn’t start against Hungary. “It is not the fact of what he had against Germany, it was a shock, I reaffirm it to you there was no concussion, everything was very well made by our doctor, I saw a Benjamin in training in total possession of his means,” he said.