France Desperately Needs Kylian Mbappé Back After Goalless Draw vs. Netherlands

France failed to find goals without its superstar despite ample chances.
Dec 18, 2022; Lusail, Qatar; France forward Kylian Mbappe (10) reacts after scoring his second goal of the match against Argentina during the second half of the 2022 World Cup final at Lusail Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 18, 2022; Lusail, Qatar; France forward Kylian Mbappe (10) reacts after scoring his second goal of the match against Argentina during the second half of the 2022 World Cup final at Lusail Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports / Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports
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France needs Kylian Mbappe back in the worst way. That was on display during a scoreless group stage draw against the Netherlands on Friday at Euro 2024.

As a masked Mbappe watched from the bench, nursing a broken nose, his teammates couldn't find the back of the net despite two golden chances for captain Antoine Griezmann. France owned 62.7% of the possession, and took 15 shots to the Dutch squad's eight, but only put them on frame three times. It has become increasingly clear that France can't win without its best player.

It's not surprising Les Bleus struggle without arguably the world's best goal scorer. In 80 matches for his country, Mbappe has scored 47 times, including eight goals at the 2022 World Cup and four in 2018.

With Friday's draw, France and the Netherlands sit tied atop Group D with four points apiece and both are plus-1 in goal differential. A place in the knockout rounds is far from guaranteed to either team with Austria looming at three points.

Mbappe was on the field training this week after breaking his nose during France's 1–0 opening match win over Austria. He warmed up on Friday but didn't move from the bench despite manager Didier Deschamps using two substitutions. Forwards Kingsley Coman and Olivier Giroud got the call over the masked Mbappe.

The 25-year-old superstar striker should be available for the final group stage match on Tuesday. France will take on the already-eliminated Poland and will be heavily favored.

In a strange twist, despite his prolific goal scoring, Mbappe has never scored during the Euro tournament. He was held goalless at Euro 2020 (held in 2021) as France won its group, then was upset by Switzerland in the Round of 16. Karim Benzema led the way with four goals, but Mbappe failed to tally.

Mbappe will be looking to breakthrough this time around and France will need him to if it wants to advance in the tournament.


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Ryan Phillips

RYAN PHILLIPS

Ryan Phillips is a senior writer on the Breaking and Trending News team at Sports Illustrated. He has worked in digital media since 2009, spending eight years at The Big Lead before joining SI in 2024. Phillips also co-hosts The Assembly Call Podcast about Indiana Hoosiers basketball and previously worked at Bleacher Report. He is a proud San Diego native and a graduate of Indiana University’s journalism program.