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France Euro 2024 squad remains upbeat as Mbappé recovers from broken nose

By Paul Myers - RFI
Sports News AP - Andreea Alexandru
WED, 19 JUN 2024 LISTEN
AP - Andreea Alexandru

Teammates of injured France skipper Kylian Mbappé on Wednesday sniffed at suggestions the squad would crack up in the absence of their star striker who broke his nose during their opening game at Euro 2024.

"Looking at who we have on the bench, I think we have what it takes up front to replace Kylian," said Adrien Rabiot who starred in the France midfield with N'Golo Kanté during the 1-0 win over Austria in Dusseldorf on Monday night.

"If he's not there, it's going to be a bit more tough," Rabiot conceded. "But I trust all the great players we have on the team.”

Veteran target man Olivier Giroud – France's all-time top scorer – and Randal Kolo Muani are the options to come in for Mbappé who is expected to miss Friday night's Group D encounter with the Netherlands.

The 25-year-old, who is due to start his career at Real Madrid in August, could also sit out France's last tie in the pool against Poland on 25 June in Dortmund.

Mbappé was playing his 80th game for his country when he collided with the shoulder of the Austria defender Kevin Danso as they both challenged for a ball in the air in the Austria penalty area

Pain

He was left sprawling on the turf at the Düsseldorf Arena as the action swiftly moved away from the Austria box. However, Mbappé remained grounded prompting the Austria goalkeeper Patrick Pentz to summon urgent medical care.

France team doctors who raced on to the pitch to tend hm stemmed the blood gushing from his nose over his hands and onto his shirt.

A subsequent examination at Düsseldorf's university hospital confirmed he had broken his nose but did not need immediate surgery. On Tuesday, Mbappé took to social media to ask for suggestions for designs for a face mask.

While the object is under construction, Mbappé underwent further tests on Wednesday to assess when he might be able to feature again for his team.

France boss Didier Deschamp, who is seeking to become the first man to win both the World Cup and European championships as a player and coach, has moved quickly to promote the need for esprit de corps while underscoring the importance of Mbappé.

"We'll continue to fight without him," said the 55-year-old Frenchman. But obviously, the French team with or without him ... this is not the same thing."

As Deschamps reconfigures his attack, he has few problems at the other end of the team.

"Competition to be in the starting line-up is intense," said defender William Saliba on Wednesday shortly after bumping into Mbappé at the squad's training camp in paderborn,

"When I saw him, he was looking a bit better,” said Saliba who is playing for the first time appearance at a European championships.

Challenge

The 23-year-old was one of the mainstays of the Arsenal rearguard as the north London outfit vied with Manchester City until the ultimate day of the season for the English Premier League title.

"France is very fortunate to have some brilliant central defenders like [Dayot] Upamecano and [Ibrahima] Konaté who normally begin the match.

"They've set an incredibly high standard," added Saliba.

"I know that if I am going to be in the team, I'm going to have to play at the very least to that standard.

"We all get on well and so we're all pushing each other to be better."

On Wednesday afternoon in Group B, Croatia's woeful campaign continued. After Spain swept past them 3-0 in their opening match, Albania, who lost to the holders Italy in their first game, scored a stoppage-time goal to draw 2-2 at the Volksparkstadion in Hamburg.

The stalemate leaves both sides with one point after two games. In the final round of pool matches on 24 June, Croatia will face Italy in Leipzig while Albania will take on Spain at the Düsseldorf Arena.

Just in....

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Started: 02-07-2024 | Ends: 31-10-2024

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