Mbappe watches from subs' bench as France and Netherlands produce Euro 2024's first 0-0

Fri, Jun 21, 2024
Soccer News (AP)

Mbappe watches from subs' bench as France and Netherlands produce Euro 2024's first 0-0

LEIPZIG, Germany (AP) - Kylian Mbappe watched from the substitutes' bench as France and the Netherlands finished 0-0 in a heavyweight European Championship clash on Friday.

Antoine Griezmann missed France's best chances while Xavi Simons had a goal ruled out for the Dutch in the first goalless draw of the tournament.

It leaves both teams on four points in Group D after their second match. It also ensured Poland was the first team eliminated. Poland was beaten by Austria 3-1 earlier Friday and is assured of finishing bottom of the group, even if it beats France in its final group game.

France's buildup was dominated by speculation on whether Mbappe would play after the team captain broke his nose in their opening 1-0 win over Austria.

Mbappe trained wearing a face mask on Thursday and coach Didier Deschamps was optimistic he'd be available. But Deschamps evidently decided it was not worth the risk to play Mbappe in a game his team had no need to win.

"Kylian is doing well. He's getting better with each day. If it was a decisive game I would have thought twice about him playing," Deschamps acknowledged. "It's a risk for him. With each day that that passes, we are getting to a point where it's better for him. I thought the wiser decision was to keep him on the bench."

RELATED COVERAGE Arda Guler doubtful for Turkey ahead of Euro 2024 match against Portugal Mbappe out of France's starting lineup and on bench for Euro 2024 clash with Netherlands Ronaldo can handle the physical intensity of Euro 2024, Portugal coach says

France enjoyed its best period of pressure after the break, when Aurelien Tchouameni headed over, goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen denied Griezmann from close range, and Ousmane Dembele went close.

Then Xavi fired the ball in at the other end in the 69th on a rebound after Mike Maignan saved Memphis Depay's effort. It set off wild Dutch celebrations that sent beer cups and their contents flying into the Leipzig sky. But the fans' elation was quickly deflated because Denzel Dumfries, who was offside, was adjudged after a lengthy VAR check to have obstructed Maignan from attempting to save Xavi's shot.

Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman thought otherwise and felt the goal should have been allowed.

Griezmann had the best of France's early chances, forcing a save from Verbruggen before he and Adrien Rabiot somehow contrived to miss when it seemed easier to score. Rabiot had only the goalkeeper to beat but he attempted a pass instead to Griezmann, who fell over trying to hit it from close range.

The French team, which needed an own goal to beat Austria, has yet to score at Euro 2024.

"We weren't efficient enough. We had five or six goal-scoring opportunities and we weren't able to find the back of the net, and if we're not able to find the back of the next, we're not walking away with three points," Deschamps said. "I'm happy despite the fact we weren't efficient enough."

The Dutch fans outnumbered their French counterparts. Thousands of orange-clad fans brightened Leipzig's city center earlier, though the French fans in blue were in no way discouraged from creating their own party. One French supporter brought a live rooster to the stadium on the eve of the match. It was unclear if the animal had a ticket for the game.

___

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

CIARAN FAHEY Fahey is a Berlin-based reporter for The Associated Press, covering sports in Germany and beyond. twitter instagram mailto "
Article Copyright © 2024 The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved.
FiveStarSignups.com
FiveStarSignups.com
docsports.com