Thursday, July 25, 2024

Mbappe at ´50% is 100% for anyone else´, warns De la Fuente ahead of semi-final

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 8 Jul 2024

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Luis de la Fuente has no doubt over Kylian Mbappe’s threat in Spain’s Euro 2024 semi-final on Tuesday, suggesting the France forward at “50% is 100% for anyone else”.

Mbappe has scored just one goal from 20 shots at the tournament in Germany, a penalty against Poland in Les Bleus’ final group game.

The Real Madrid-bound has been hampered by a mask, required after his broken nose against Austria in the opening game, but continues to struggle at the European Championship.

Mbappe has scored just once from 34 attempts in the Euros overall, a contrast to his record at the World Cup, where the former Paris Saint-Germain star has 12 goals from 39 shots.

Yet the Spain boss insists La Roja will not write off the Les Bleus captain, despite his recent underwhelming form.

“He is unpredictable, he never disappears,” De la Fuente said at Monday’s pre-match press conference. “His level at 50% is 100% for anyone else.

“He can beat someone in two moves. He is a genius and a superstar.

“We are going to try to minimise his influence, we have the tools to do it regardless of who is on the pitch. I have blind faith in my team to get to the final.”

Mbappe may be a marked man for the Spanish, yet De la Fuente’s team are in scintillating form as the only team to triumph in all five matches at Euro 2024 so far.

No team has ever won six matches at a single Euros tournament, however, nor managed six straight wins in the competition.

Yet De la Fuente has absolute confidence in Spain reaching their fifth European Championship final, with only Germany – who La Roja downed 2-1 in extra time in the quarter-finals – managing more with six.

“For me, my team is the best, but we have a great rival in front of us who is just as good,” he added.

“I will think that my team is the best team even if they knock us out. I analyse the team’s potential and they have exceptional potential.

“Everyone gets bored or has fun with what they want, football never bores me. We are recovering well, but it is only a few days, it is the same problem for everyone.

“We will see how we are tomorrow, motivation makes you overcome any adversity.”

A France player is yet to score from open play at the tournament, with Les Bleus’ game seeing two penalties scored and two own goals.

De la Fuente still refused to ignore the quality of Didier Deschamps’ men, adding: “Physically, France are one of the strongest, we know the players and we know how to fight them.”

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