Losing Kylian Mbappe is France’s worst-case scenario

Les Bleus’ talisman was forced off in their opening game of the tournament on Monday, and his country now face a potential reckoning in his absence.

This was surely a far cry from how Kylian Mbappe envisaged his return to the European Championship stage; yet to get off the mark in the continental tournament, he would have had Austria in his sights ahead of France’s Euro 2024 opener. As it was, Les Bleus would be forced to rely upon a first-half own goal to edge their Group D rivals, and their talisman was forced off after a sickening collision left him with a broken nose.

The French camp is now anxiously awaiting the prognosis of the injury, which may require surgery, with a blockbuster group-stage clash with the Netherlands to contend with on Friday. The worst-case scenario is that Mbappe will be sidelined until the quarter-finals, if France get that far, and he will need to wear a protective mask regardless.

But irrespective of whether he is available or not, the blunt performance against Austria demonstrated once again that the World Cup runners-up need their supporting cast to step up, and their skipper’s potential absence will only intensify that need.

Fateful moment

Down the years, major tournaments have been punctuated by those moments on which a nation’s fortunes can pivot; David Beckham’s kick-out in 1998, Wayne Rooney’s injury at Euro 2004, Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt in 2006, Frank Lampard’s ‘ghost goal’ at the 2010 World Cup, Luis Suarez’s handball at the same tournament – the list goes on.

France now find themselves at a crucial juncture, and if they are unable to overcome their own deficiencies, then Mbappe’s broken nose could be added to that list when all is said and done.

The moment itself seemed innocuous, but Mbappe’s bloodied face told a different story. Rising to meet a cross in the dying embers of the game, the attacker inadvertently headed the shoulder of Austrian defender Kevin Danso after connecting with the ball, leaving him with a crooked, swollen nose and blood-stained shirt.

“He’s got a really bad nose,” France manager Didier Deschamps said after the game. “We’ll have to wait and see, the medical staff are dealing with it. We’ll have to see what’s going to be done and then how long it will take. It’s very bad news for us tonight. Obviously, the French team with or without him, this is not the same thing. I hope he can be there.”

Uncertain prognosis

An injury to one of the tournament’s biggest superstars has inevitably led to speculation over just how long France’s talisman will be absent for, with a group-stage showdown against the Dutch to come on Friday. The reported worst-case scenario is that he will be sidelined for up to 15 days – ruling him out of the rest of the group phase and a last-16 clash should France qualify as expected.

For their part, the French federation have confirmed Mbappe will undergo treatment, but the injury does not require surgery immediately. Instead the 25-year-old will be required to wear a protective mask when he is back on the grass.

“Kylian Mbappe has returned to the base camp of the French team. He will undergo treatment in the coming days, without undergoing surgery immediately. A mask will be made so as to allow the number 10 of the French team to consider resuming competition after a period devoted to treatment,” the FFF said in a statement.

According to RMC, Mbappe will miss Friday’s clash with the Netherlands at the very least having had his nose put back into place in the dressing room before being taken to hospital in Dusseldorf.


Leave a Reply


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Steve Cooper in Foxes talks ahead of Premier League return

Richard Keys brutally suggests CR7 ‘doesn’t know the right time to call it a day