Thursday, July 25, 2024

Austria v France: Mbappe will never go against the collective, assures Deschamps

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 15 Jun 2024

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Kylian Mbappe will always put the team first and is ready to lead from the front as France prepare to open their Euro 2024 campaign against Austria, says Didier Deschamps.

Having scored 44 goals in his final season with Paris Saint-Germain before sealing his long-awaited move to Real Madrid, Mbappe will captain his country at a first major tournament, following Hugo Lloris’ international retirement.

Les Bleus are among the favourites but the same was true when they crashed out in the last 16 at Euro 2020, losing to Switzerland in a penalty shoot-out.

Mbappe failed to score at that tournament, but his coach is certain he is in top condition ahead of Monday’s game in Dusseldorf.

“He is always at the centre of things. That won’t change,” Deschamps told The Athletic of Mbappe.

“He will not do anything that goes against the collective interest. It won’t be any problem. He is in very good shape, very happy, and concentrated on working hard.

“The most important thing is that he has the greatest possible freedom. My objective is to put him in the best conditions, and put the team in the best conditions, so that he can be as effective as possible.”

Asked about Mbappe’s leadership qualities, Deschamps continued: “He speaks but he is not there to be overbearing.

“If you are not with him, you don’t see how he is with his partners on a daily basis. He has always been part of a collective project, even if he is an extraordinary player who is able to make a difference on his own.”

Opponents Austria have been touted by some as a potential surprise package after impressing in their first qualification campaign under Ralf Rangnick, finishing just one point behind Belgium.

“If we’re complete, then we’re a team that is very hard to beat,” the former Manchester United boss said. “We’re able to compete with anyone at a high level.

“We saw that during friendlies against Germany and Italy [both 2-0 wins], but also during the qualifiers against Sweden [2-0 and 3-1 victories].

“We’re not going to the Euros just to participate. We have faith in ourselves and believe we can qualify for the next round.”

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