Euro 2024: Concerns over Mbappe's availability hang over France's group closer with Poland

Mon, Jun 24, 2024
Soccer News (AP)

Euro 2024: Concerns over Mbappe's availability hang over France's group closer with Poland

DORTMUND, Germany (AP) - Will he or won't he? Kylian Mbappe's availability for France remains the subject of much contention heading into the team's Group D closer against already-eliminated Poland in the European Championship. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. local (1600 GMT) in Dortmund. Here's what to know about the match:

Match facts

- Mbappe sustained a broken nose in France's opening 1-0 win over Austria and didn't come off the bench for the 0-0 draw with the Netherlands on Friday, despite France coach Didier Deschamps having sounded optimistic his star forward could play while wearing a face mask. Mbappe has since featured in a behind-closed-doors match against a local team, so he might be ready to return.

- France needs a point to guarantee a place in the round of 16 but probably has done enough already to advance, at least as one of the four best third-place finishers. The French are tied on four points with the Netherlands, with Austria a point back in third ahead of its match against the Dutch.

- Poland lost its opening two games - to the Netherlands (2-1) and Austria (3-1) - and was the first team to be eliminated from this year's tournament.

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- Poland captain Robert Lewandowski, who turns 36 in August, missed the game against the Dutch after failing to recover sufficiently from a thigh injury and was a 60th-minute substitute against Austria. This could be his last-ever European Championship match.

Team news

- For France, much depends on Mbappe's availability. Antoine Griezmann played further forward against the Netherlands in Mbappe's absence, allowing Aurelien Tchouameni to come in and bolster the central midfield. If Mbappe returns, Griezmann will likely drop back into midfield, with either Tchouameni or Adrien Rabiot missing out.

- Poland coach Michal Probierz has announced that Wojciech Szczesny will be replaced as goalkeeper for the final group match, with Lukasz Skorupski or Marcin Bulka coming in. Szczesny has already said he will be retiring from international soccer after these Euros.

By the numbers

- N'Golo Kante has two player-of-the-match awards already at Euro 2024. Before this tournament, he hadn't played a competitive match for France in two years.

- France hasn't lost any of its eight group games at European Championships under Deschamps.

- With 47 goals for France, Mbappe is four off tying with Thierry Henry in the list of all-time top scorers for the national team. Olivier Giroud leads the way with 57.

- Poland has failed to advance from the group stage in four of its last five appearances at the European Championship.

- Lewandowski has 82 goals in 151 appearances for Poland.

What they're saying

- "It's no secret that he's really looking forward to the next game, and as far as the mask is concerned, he's starting to get used to it." - Tchouameni said about Mbappe.

- "We will play against France with our best possible lineup. This game will be good for us as part of our preparations for the UEFA Nations League in the autumn." - Probierz said about his selection.

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AP Euro 2024: https://apnews.com/hub/euro-2024

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