Euro 2024: Concerns over Mbappé’s availability hang over France’s group closer with Poland

DORTMUND, Germany (AP) — Will he or won’t he? Kylian Mbappé’s availability for France remains the subject of much contention heading into the team’s Group D closer against already-eliminated Poland in the European Championship. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. local (1600 GMT) in Dortmund. Here’s what to know about the match:

Match facts

— Mbappé sustained a broken nose in France’s opening 1-0 win over Austria and didn’t come off the bench for the 0-0 draw with the Netherlands on Friday, despite France coach Didier Deschamps having sounded optimistic his star forward could play while wearing a face mask. Mbappé has since featured in a behind-closed-doors match against a local team so he might be ready to return, though a smiling Deschamps was again coy about the situation in his eve-of-match news conference on Monday.

— France has done enough already to advance, at least as one of the four best third-place finishers, after Albania’s loss to Spain on Monday in Group B. The French are tied on four points with the Netherlands, with Austria a point back in third ahead of its match against the Dutch.

— Poland lost its opening two games — to the Netherlands 2-1 and Austria 3-1 — and was the first team to be eliminated from this tournament.

— Poland captain Robert Lewandowski, who turns 36 in August, missed the game against the Dutch after failing to recover sufficiently from a thigh injury and was a 60th-minute substitute against Austria. This could be his last ever European Championship match.

Team news

— For France, much depends on Mbappé’s availability. Antoine Griezmann played further forward against the Netherlands in Mbappé’s absence, allowing Aurélien Tchouaméni to come in and bolster the central midfield. If Mbappé returns, Griezmann will likely drop back into midfield, with either Tchouaméni or Adrien Rabiot missing out.

— Poland coach Michal Probierz has announced that Wojciech Szczęsny will be replaced as goalkeeper for the final group match, with Lukasz Skorupski or Marcin Bułka coming in. Szczęsny has already said he will be retiring from international soccer after these Euros.

By the numbers

— N’Golo Kante has two player-of-the-match awards already at Euro 2024. Before this tournament, he hadn’t played a competitive match for France in two years.

— France has scored only one goal so far, and that was an own-goal by Austria defender Maximilian Wober. Les Bleus are the only team at the tournament not to have a goal from one of its own players.

— France hasn’t lost any of its eight group games at European Championships under Deschamps.

— With 47 goals for France, Mbappé is four off tying with Thierry Henry in the list of all-time top scorers for the national team. Olivier Giroud leads the way with 57.

— Poland has failed to advance from the group stage in four of its last five appearances at the European Championship.

— Lewandowski has 82 goals in 151 appearances for Poland.

What they’re saying

— “The reasons we weren’t able to hit the back of the net maybe was a lack of efficiency and maybe the fact that Kylian will be here tomorrow will help us score goals and win the game.” — Kante on potentially having Mbappé available.

— “We will play against France with our best possible lineup. This game will be good for us as part of our preparations for the UEFA Nations League in the autumn.” — Probierz said about his selection.


AP Euro 2024:

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