The real reason that N’Golo Kante was substituted in the 54th minute of the World Cup final has been revealed.
Kante was seriously off the boil on Sunday. The Frenchman can be relied upon on every occasion, every stage, no matter the size. But he felt short on the biggest of them all.
Ivan Perisic left Kante for dead before firing home Croatia’s equaliser in the first-half. Kante looked a couple of yards off his usual pace.
In the 54th minute, Didier Deschamps decided to withdraw Kante and replace him with Sevilla midfielder Steven N’Zonzi.
It was a sad way for Kante to end the tournament, with the Chelsea player of the year being one of the star performers throughout.
Kante didn’t just have an off-day, though. He was unwell, which was why he underperformed.
Le Parisien report that Kante was suffering with a stomach bug, but the decision was still made to use him from the beginning.
If anything, he deserves credit for declaring himself available to play, rather than criticism for his substandard performance.