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Soccer-Mbappe recovery continues but return for France remains unclear

By Thomson Reuters Jun 23, 2024 | 6:35 AM

PADRE, Germany (Reuters) – France forward Kylian Mbappe is continuing to recover from his broken nose even though it is not yet sure whether he will play on Tuesday in his side’s last group game at the European Championship, coach Didier Deschamps said on Sunday.

Deschamps kept his cards close to his chest on the French Telefoot television programme, declining to say if Mbappe would feature against Poland in Dortmund but offering reassuring news for supporters about the recovery of his captain, who fractured his nose last Monday in their opener against Austria.

“You will see (whether he plays or not) but everything is going in the right direction, he is recovering from the blow, the bruising is decreasing every day, and he will get used to his mask. He is doing well,” Deschamps said.

Following the 0-0 draw against the Netherlands in Leipzig on Friday, when Mbappe stayed on the bench, there has been much analysis in the French media over the team’s attacking prowess, or sudden lack thereof.

France’s only goal in their last three outings was an own goal by Austria’s Maximilan Wober in their opening Group D encounter in Duesseldorf.

But Deschamps gave nothing away when asked if he might freshen up the attack, especially as France, with four points, look certain of a place in the last 16.

“I have planned a team which will ensure qualification and the best possible finish in the group. We will always hope to get a little more recovery (for some players). You deduce from that what you want”, he said.

Mbappe’s team mates, at a press conference on Sunday, suggested the 25-year-old attacker was eager to play, especially after an hour on the field on Saturday in a training scrimmage against a local academy team.

“When he was on the pitch, he was 100% at it, he is getting used to his mask and he scored,” said defender Jonathan Clauss.

“I think he wants to play the next match. He might like to play without the mask, but the doctor isn’t going to give him the choice,” added midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni.

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Ken Ferris)