Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Mbappe edging closer to return at Euros, says Deschamps

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 24 Jun 2024

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France manager Didier Deschamps says Kylian Mbappe is “raring to go”, hinting that the forward could be back in the fold for their final Euro 2024 group game against Poland.

Mbappe suffered a broken nose after a collision with Kevin Danso during the win over Austria in their opening game and sat out of their goalless draw with the Netherlands last Friday.

Having been fitted with a protective mask, the France captain is back in full training, and scored two goals in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Saturday.

France are not yet guaranteed a place in the knockout stages of the competition, but they will be if they avoid defeat against Poland, who were the first team to crash out of Euro 2024.

And, after struggling to break down a stubborn Dutch side in their last game, Mbappe’s return would be a welcome one for Deschamps, though he admits it could be difficult for him to adapt to the mask.

“It’s better every day,” Deschamps said. “He was in our training sessions. The bruise has gone down a lot. He’s getting used to the mask.

“He wants to play, he’s raring to go. He wanted to play against the Netherlands, and he wants to play tomorrow.

“[He has] no problems with breathing but the way he sees, yes. For those who play with a mask, it’s not a constraint, but it does limit your vision. He wears it because he needs to protect his face in certain incidents that could occur.

“There will be contact regardless of where you play, whenever you have those one-vs-ones. Obviously, yes, it’s maybe hindering, but it’ll be something he’ll get used to. It’s like wearing those 3D glasses. We have as thin a mask as possible.”

N’Golo Kante has been France’s stand-out performer at the tournament so far, being awarded Player of the Match in both of their games, after a two-year absence from the squad.

He is looking forward to linking up with Mbappe on the pitch as France aim to end their dry spell in front of goal.

“We all know his qualities as a finisher,” Kante said. “One of the reassuring facts is that we had a lot of chances without him. With him, we can be more effective.

“With Kylian back, I think that can help us to score and win. Clearly, it’s a big plus to have Kylian back.

“He was great, decisive, dangerous, he played really well in the training session. To be honest, I forgot that he was wearing a mask.

“I hope that will reflect on the pitch tomorrow.”

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