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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

KO’d for nearly 15 seconds at Euro 2020: France’s Pavard felt like a boxer

Pavard slammed into the turf in the 59th minute of France's 1-0 victory over Germany on Tuesday at the European Championship following a challenge from opposing midfielder Robin Gosens.

By: AP | Budapest, Hungary |
Updated: June 17, 2021 8:39:54 am
euro 2020The France team said Pavard had not lost consciousness at any point and was able to continue playing. (AP Photo)

Crashing face-first into the ground, France defender Benjamin Pavard said he felt like a boxer knocked out on the canvas.

Pavard slammed into the turf in the 59th minute of France’s 1-0 victory over Germany on Tuesday at the European Championship following a challenge from opposing midfielder Robin Gosens.

“I was a bit KO’d for about 10-15 seconds,” Pavard told broadcaster beIN Sports after the game. “After that I felt better.”

Gosens jumped into the air to meet the ball just as Pavard was about to head it away and his knee caught the Frenchman around the neck. It sent the off-balance Pavard tumbling forward and he hit the ground face-first, with his right arm only slightly breaking his fall.

Despite concussion protocols aimed at protecting players, the Bayern Munich defender was allowed to continue after being treated on the field in Munich.

“We confirm that if a player of our team is suspected of having suffered a concussion, he will be immediately removed from the pitch, whether in training or match play,” UEFA’s Euro 2020 concussion charter says.

The decision for Pavard to continue rested with him and the team’s doctor.

UEFA said its medical people are in contact with the French soccer federation to ascertain if he is able to train or play under protocol rules.

The France team said Pavard had not lost consciousness at any point and was able to continue playing.

Pavard had lunch with his teammates as planned on Wednesday and was expected to take part in the afternoon’s training session.

A similar incident happened in a match between West Germany and France in the 1982 World Cup semifinals.

Germany goalkeeper Harald Schumacher rushed off his line and jumped into France defender Patrick Battiston just after he had taken a shot, catching him full in the face with his knee and sending him falling backward onto the ground.

Battiston received oxygen as he was carried off the field unconscious in Seville as distressed teammate Michel Platini, whose pass Battiston had latched onto, held his hand. Battiston fell into a coma but later recovered.

After Tuesday’s match in Munich, Pavard was lucid enough to talk in detail about the performance.

“We came across a very good Germany team who had more possession. We really played well, whether in attack or defense, and we stuck together when things were tough,” the 25-year-old Pavard said. “We coped well when they were starting to get on top, and they didn’t get many shots on target.”

Other than Pavard’s worrying fall, France has had no other injuries to contend with. The defending World Cup champions next face Hungary in Budapest on Saturday.

“We’re in good shape physically and I think we’re going to keep getting better in the competition,” Pavard said. “It’s very encouraging for what’s ahead.”

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