FOOTBALL

Mbappe doing better every day, says Deschamps

Agence France-Presse (AFP)/AFP
Agence France-Presse (AFP)/AFP
Agence France-Presse (AFP)/AFP

Mbappe did not play any part in last Friday’s 0-0 draw with the Netherlands in Leipzig after suffering the broken nose late in his team’s opening

PHOTO
France coach Didier Deschamps on Monday revealed Kylian Mbappe was getting “better every day” but did not confirm if his captain would start today’s last Euro 2024 group game against Poland.
“He is doing better every day. He is doing better today than on Monday and the day before that. That is obvious because he has been training,” Deschamps told reporters in Dortmund, where France and Poland will meet in the Group D finale.
“The bruising has come down and he is getting used to the mask. He is as eager to play tomorrow as he was eager to play against the Netherlands.”
Mbappe did not play any part in last Friday’s 0-0 draw with the Netherlands in Leipzig after suffering the broken nose late in his team’s opening 1-0 win over Austria in Duesseldorf a week ago.
He did not undergo an operation on the injury but will need to wear the protective mask when he returns to the side.
Deschamps added: “He does not find that the mask limits him but it does restrict his vision a little. He needs to get used to it, even though the technology nowadays allows these masks to be as thin as possible.”
France come into the game in second place in the group and with their place in the last 16 in little doubt.
However, the 2022 World Cup runners-up need to better the Netherlands’ result at the same time against Austria – or at least win by a wider margin – in order to take top spot.
They are keen to get their superstar forward back on the pitch given their only goal so far in two matches was an own goal.
“We all know how good a finisher Kylian is,” said N’Golo Kante, alongside his coach at Monday’s press conference.
“It is a massive plus for us to have Kylian. I had sort of forgotten he was wearing a mask.
“He helped us win our training game today. He looked dangerous and was decisive.
“He feels good and I hope that will be the case during the match.”
Lewandowski not yet ready to retire from Poland team
Poland star Robert Lewandowski indicated on Monday he will continue his international career beyond the team’s last game at Euro 2024 against France.
The Barcelona forward is Poland’s all-time record goal-scorer but will turn 36 in August, and will be almost 38 at the next World Cup in North America in 2026.
However, he appears determined to play on and not bow out after a disappointing tournament in Germany in which Poland were the first team to be eliminated following defeats in their opening two matches.
“Tomorrow is not my last game,” Lewandowski told reporters on the eve of today’s match in Dortmund, after saying that an emerging generation of young players had given him “extra energy”.
“I will be 36 soon. I still have that fire inside of me and nobody outside can affect my decision. It will just be me and my family,” said the striker who made his name at Borussia Dortmund a decade ago.
“One day I will wake up and maybe think it is time to retire but today I feel this team has a future,” Lewandowski said.
“I know things have not worked out before and during this tournament but we were in the group of death.
“It has not been easy but that doesn’t mean we can’t come back much stronger in the future.”
Lewandowski, who has won more than 150 caps, is playing at his fourth European Championship and has also appeared at two World Cups.
He missed Poland’s opening game at this year’s Euros after suffering a thigh injury in a friendly against Turkey a week before the tournament began.
Absent from the 2-1 loss against the Netherlands, he only appeared as a substitute in their next match, a 3-1 defeat by Austria.
“I wanted to be fully fit so it was tough being unable to help the team on the pitch,” he said before declaring himself ready to start against the 2022 World Cup runners-up.
“I am ready to play from the beginning. I think I can cope with playing 90 minutes.”
© Gulf Times Newspaper 2022 Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).
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