France defender Laurent Koscielny says that his country’s World Cup triumph did him greater psychological damage than the Achilles injury that ruled him out of the tournament, and admitted part of him was rooting against his team in the final.
The Arsenal defender had previously confirmed he would retire from international football after the 2018 World Cup.
However, his Achilles injury late last season sidelined him for Russia, leading to questions over whether he might decide to stick around.
But in an interview with Canal+ Koscielny detailed his struggles in dealing with missing out on France's success in Russia, while admitting seeing it all unfold brought out the worst in him.
"The World Cup will remain a dark spot of my career," Koscielny told Canal+.
"The injury was hard to accept. The result was even harder because they won the World Cup. I have a selfish side. I tell myself that I could have been part of the adventure and won the Cup. And I would have it in a corner of my head for the rest my life. It's difficult and no one can put themself in my shoes.
"I was really happy for them, but also disgusted. You can not feel like a world champion, as the 60 million French could. It's a strange feeling that during the tournament I wanted them to qualify, but at the same time I wanted them to lose. That was my feeling at the time."
The centre-back grew emotional speaking on his situation, and detailing his difficult road back from the injury.
"It's my first big injury, mentally you're getting very strong, you're learning a lot about football and life, I've worked every day at St-Raphael, and put my family aside," he said.
"These are things in life, and you have to face all of that, during my rehabilitation, I was selfish, I only thought of myself, and I did not pay attention to my family."
Laurent @6_LKOSCIELNY submergé par l'émotion au moment d'évoquer sa longue blessure à un mois de la Coupe du Monde 😰🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/OAxgK6dcQU — Canal Football Club (@CanalFootClub) October 14, 2018
Koscielny won his first cap for France in 2011 against the USA, having initially considered an offer to represent Poland for whom he also qualified.
He made 51 appearances for Les Bleus across his career and scored once, in a 3-0 friendly victory over Scotland in 2016.
He has however been unable to force his way back into contention since the start of the new season, with Crystal Palace's Mamadou Sakho instead earning a recall and Everton's Kurt Zouma preferred at the back.
And Koscielny pulled no punches in his criticism of Deschamps and the coaching staff, who masterminded their country’s success 20 years on from lifting the trophy as captain in 1998 on home soil.
"Deschamps called me once [since the World Cup], during my birthday in September," Koscielny said. "Lot of people disappointed me, and there are lots of other coaches. It feels like a slap on the face."
"I think I gave what I could give to the French team.The national team has a very good generation with great players.
"My injury has not changed my decision: for the Blues it's over for me. But I remain a supporter of the French team."
With his time with France now complete, Koscielny is focusing on his recovery so he can return to the field with Arsenal.
While he admits he is uncertain how he'll perform when he does get back, Koscienly is determined to make a strong effort to get back out there.
"I have a new state of mind, there was the Laurent before, and the Laurent after. I want to continue to Arsenal, and come back quickly, I do not know what level I can have. but I want to fight. "