Mbappe injury leaves Bleus toothless at Euro 2024

    Kylian Mbappe watched from the bench as France missed a succession of presentable chances on their way to sharing the first 0-0 draw of Uefa Euro 2024 with the Netherlands.

    Antoine Griezmann, who played in a more advanced position in the absence of captain Mbappe with a broken nose, went closest in either half, scuffing close-range shots as France failed to score for a third time in six matches.

    The Netherlands thought they had scored a 69th-minute winner when Xavi Simons lashed the ball into the net from just inside the penalty area, only for a long Video Assistant Referee (VAR) check to rule the goal out for offside against Denzel Dumfries.

    France play their final group-stage match against Poland, who have lost both of their games, on Tuesday, while Oranje, who also have four points, simultaneously face Austria.

    France v Netherlands: Mbappe absence telling

    For all the admiration of their defenders before the tournament began, the Netherlands might have felt more relief than most teams at Mbappe being a substitute in one of the heavyweight fixtures of the early stage of the finals.

    Mbappe has scored six goals in the five editions of the fixture he has featured in, but his involvement had been in serious doubt since he was forced off with full time approaching against Austria on Monday.

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    The captain will wear a custom protective mask when he returns and his restoration to the team will also be notable for the much-needed cutting edge it will afford France, on this evidence.

    Griezmann should have scored within the first 20 minutes, although more of the blame is likely to be apportioned to midfielder Adrien Rabiot, who broke clear on goal but chose to pass to the forward rather than shoot, seeming to catch his team-mate by surprise as much as the rest of the stadium.

    Marcus Thuram duly attempted to recapture Mbappe’s ruthlessness almost as unconvincingly, reaching a ball over the top and hammering an effort clear of the target.

    Griezmann wasteful for France v Netherlands

    Bart Verbruggen came to the rescue after the break when he applied the faintest of touches to Griezmann’s attempt in front of goal, although the impressive 21-year-old goalkeeper would surely have had no chance had the Atletico Madrid hotshot taken aim with the conviction the chance merited.

    Simons was visibly crestfallen when his fine finish against the run of play was disallowed, Dumfries deemed to have blocked goalkeeper Mike Maignan as the ball arrowed in.

    Both teams are likely to go through even if they do not earn another point, the Netherlands having beaten Poland 2-1 in their first game of the tournament.

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