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France's Mbappé admits he played poorly at Euro 2024

France's Mbappé admits he played poorly at Euro 2024
10 July 2024 14:32

Munich (dpa)

France striker Kylian Mbappé was finally able to shed the mask but acknowledged he had endured a difficult Euros after the 2-1 semi-final defeat by Spain on Tuesday.

France scored their first goal by one of their players in open play at the tournament to take the lead, Mbappé's smart cross being headed in by Randal Kolo Muani.

But Spain quickly hit back in the first half through Dani Olmo and a stunning strike from 16-year-old Lamine Yamal.

"I had the ambition to become European champion. I had the ambition to play a good Euros. I achieved neither one nor the other," captain Mbappé told reporters.

He played better without the mask against Spain, which he has worn since breaking his nose in the opening group game against Austria, but it still was not enough to help France over the line. French pundits had urged him to ditch the mask, saying that a slight disfigurement of his nose and some pain should not matter.

The 25-year-old agreed and said: "I couldn't see well with it. I spoke to the doctor and he told me to make a decision like a man. I don't regret it."

The new Real Madrid forward will now take a holiday before starting his adventure at the Bernabeu.

Coach Didier Deschamps, whose future is now up in the air after just the 2018 World Cup title from his 12-year reign, defended Mbappé and fellow struggling star Antoine Griezmann.

"I will not lay the blame on those two. Kylian had maybe some problems but we are not looking for excuses. He felt much better without the mask," the coach said.

Deschamps also hailed 37-year-old Olivier Giroud, the country's all-time top scorer, who is now retiring from internationals.

"Bravo and merci for everything he has achieved," Deschamps said.

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