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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 24 July 2024

Will Mbappé continue at the Euro 2024? French star's nose injury puts future in doubt

An aerial head-on-shoulder collision with Austria's Kevin Danso left Mbappé curled on the field with his nose bloodied and swollen late

AP Dusseldorf Published 18.06.24, 04:00 PM
Kylian Mbappe of France receives a treatment after suffering an injury during a Group D match between Austria and France at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Duesseldorf, Germany, Monday, June 17, 2024.

Kylian Mbappe of France receives a treatment after suffering an injury during a Group D match between Austria and France at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Duesseldorf, Germany, Monday, June 17, 2024. AP/PTI

Kylian Mbappé's facial injury in France's 1-0 win against Austria has put in doubt whether he will continue at the European Championship.

An aerial head-on-shoulder collision with Austria's Kevin Danso left Mbappé curled on the field with his nose bloodied and swollen late in the Group D game at Dusseldorf Arena.

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“I don't have the elements in my hands,” France coach Didier Deschamps said. “He didn't get off lightly. It is still to be seen. I cannot at this stage give the answer (if he will be ruled out).”

Mbappé's obvious pain following the incident prompted Austria goalkeeper Patrick Pentz to signal for urgent medical assistance.

“We're worried to see Kylian leave the field like that,” France midfielder N'Golo Kante said. “We still don't know what the situation is. ... We hope that it's not too severe and that he's back with us for the rest of the competition.”

Mbappé is France's talisman and his injury likely struck fear in the hearts of fans.

Later he appeared to try to lighten the mood.

“Any ideas for masks?” he posted on X, likely acknowledging he will need some form of facial protection if he is to play on at the European Championship.

France's best player, Mbappé is widely considered the heir to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as soccer's biggest global icon. Also, he will finally wear the famous white jersey of Real Madrid next season after joining as a free agent from Paris Saint-Germain.

He tried to play on against Austria, but quickly fell to the ground again, holding his face and prompting whistles and jeers from the opposition fans, who seemed to believe he was time-wasting as France held on for the win.

He was then booked by referee Jesus Gil Manzano and replaced by Olivier Giroud.

“He's not doing well. He's with the medical staff. His nose got badly hit that's for sure.” Deschamps said. “We need to check, but it seems quite complicated, which is really unfortunate for us tonight.”

Mbappé produced a mixed performance before the injury but still showed his importance to France's hopes of winning a record-equalling third European Championship and its first since 2000.

It was his moment of inspiration that led to Maximilian Wober scoring an own goal in the 38th minute that handed Deschamps his 100th win as France coach.

With a flash of close-ball control, Mbappé beat Phillipp Mwene in the box and crossed in search of a teammate. In Wober's desperation to cut out the danger, he inadvertently diverted the ball into his own net.

Mbappé was then guilty of a remarkable miss 10 minutes into the second half when failing to hit the target from close range with only the keeper to beat.

Bursting through on goal, he was too fast for Wober and had time to steady himself in the box before picking his spot. With France fans behind the goal just waiting for the net to bulge, Mbappe's shot instead curled past the post to the relief of the Austrians.

He has yet to score in the European Championship, having failed to at the last Euros three years ago.

Deschamps, however, does not want to consider worst-case scenarios.

“I'm not going to go into hypothesis,” he said. “The French team with Kylian would always be stronger. If the news doesn't go along these lines then we'll have to fight without him, but Kylian is Kylian and any team with him in the squad is obviously a lot stronger.”

Earlier on Monday Belgium suffered a shock 1-0 loss against Slovakia in Group E when Romelu Lukaku had two goals ruled out by VAR. Ivan Schranz's scored in the seventh minute and Slovakia held out to produce the biggest surprise of the tournament so far.

Romania tops the group after beating Ukraine 3-0 — its first Euros win in 24 years.

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