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How will Dembele respond to World Cup final disasterclass?

Where’s his head at?

Argentina v France: Final - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Photo by Maja Hitij - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

It was the moment in Sunday’s World Cup final when the game tilted in Argentina’s favour.

Ousmane Dembele hadn’t been having his best game in any event, but his foul on Angel Di Maria was certainly something he’d rather forget.

Beaten by the wide man not once but twice in the same move, the Frenchman’s ill-timed intervention was punished by Dembele’s former team-mate, Lionel Messi.

La Pulga’s penalty saw him become the first player in football history to score in the World Cup group stages, Round of 16, quarter-final, semi final and final.

The roar that greeted the ball hitting the back of the net was animalistic in tone, and it’s a fair bet that Dembele was never more alone on a football pitch than in that one singular instance.

Argentina v France -World Cup Photo by Eric Verhoeven/Soccrates/Getty Images

For a player who thrives on confidence, it’s likely to have been a real body blow.

Being hooked on 41 minutes by Didier Deschamps will have done nothing for his mood either.

For Barca’s sake, with big games against Espanyol and Atletico Madrid in the immediate future, the player needs to put such a huge disappointment behind him quickly.

Easier said than done, and Xavi has his work cut out in getting the player to change his focus back onto club matters.

Argentina v France: Final - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

It’s said that Barca are preparing to extend Dembele’s contract in order to soften the blow of such a damaging loss, however, in so doing, the player also needs to do his part.

His form pre-World Cup was magnificent, and a continuation of the same can help the Catalans cement their place at the summit of La Liga.

Whilst the game’s top prize has eluded him for another four years and in the most cruel way, Dembele can still make this a successful season, both personally and for Barca.

Silverware is there to be won, a legacy still to be written.

It would be a huge shame if his disappointment at losing the final was to affect Dembele in such a way as to dilute his impact for the remainder of 2022/23.

What is it they say. Fail once, fail more.

Time to stand up and be counted and remind Barca fans that they do still have a world class talent in their midst.

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