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Euro 2024: Mbappe sits out stalemate between France and Netherlands

By primenewsghana
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France and the Netherlands played it safe in a 0-0 draw in Group D at Euro 2024 on Friday that left them within sight of a place in the round of 16 and made Poland the first team to be eliminated.

With France captain Kylian Mbappé on the bench after suffering a broken nose in their opener, the game sparked into life in fits and starts, without ever threatening to turn into a classic.

Netherlands’ Xavi Simons had the ball in the net in the second half but the goal was disallowed because Denzel Dumfries, standing offside next to keeper Mike Maignan, was penalised with the decision eventually confirmed by VAR after a lengthy delay.

The result leaves the group open, although with four points in the bag both France and the Netherlands will think they have most likely done enough to reach the round of 16.

France next face Poland, who have no points after losing 3-1 to Austria earlier on Friday, while the Netherlands meet the Austrians, who have three points, also on Tuesday.

The saga around Mbappé’s selection dominated the build-up, with his appearance at training on Thursday wearing a tricolore mask seen as a sure sign he was set for inclusion.

The first half was at times frenetic, with the Dutch going close within the first minute as Jeremie Frimpong’s effort was tipped around the post by Maignan before Antoine Griezmann had an early shot palmed over at the other end.

France should have taken the lead minutes later when Adrien Rabiot was played through on goal but inexplicably chose to pass to Griezmann, who was so stunned by his generosity that he miscontrolled, stumbled and lost possession.

With Mbappé out of the picture, Griezmann slotted into the role as France’s main man, firing another chance wide and heading straight at keeper Bart Verbruggen from a Rabiot cross.

By contrast, the Netherlands seemed to lack a real threat, with most of their attacks petering out with all their forwards guilty of failing to find a telling pass when the penalty area honed into view.

As the second half progressed, France increased the tempo with Marcus Thuram flashing a shot wide on the hour, Aurélien Tchouaméni heading over and an off-balance Griezmann again thwarted by Verbruggen from close range.

The Dutch thought they had finally broken the deadlock when Simons flashed a shot into the net only for the celebrations to be halted by the linesman’s flag and dashed by VAR.

Source: ESPN