Thursday, July 18, 2024

Kylian Mbappe: France forward calls Euro 2024 ‘a failure’ after side’s semi-final loss – BBC Sport

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Image caption, No player has had as many attempts at Euro 2024 as Kylian Mbappe (24, one penalty goal). Cristiano Ronaldo failed to score from his 23 attempts.

“My ambition was to be champion of Europe – but it was a failure.”

That was the blunt assessment of Kylian Mbappe, the World Cup winner who was expected to guide France all the way in Germany. The £190m man who finally completed his dream move to Real Madrid this summer and captained an expectant nation at Euro 2024.

But Mbappe – who emulated England great Sir Geoff Hurst with a hat-trick in the World Cup final two years ago – struggled to make the impact we all expected as France’s tepid tournament ended in semi-final defeat in Munich against Spain.

After the match the forward called the tournament a “failure”. So what went wrong with Mbappe? And why has he tended to struggle in the Euros?

  • Author, Tom Rostance
  • Role, BBC Sport journalist

World Cup wizard, Euros enigma?

Video caption, Mbappe misses big chance for France

Mbappe lit up the World Cup in Russia in 2018 as a teenager, scoring four times as France won the crown for the first time in 20 years.

He then scored an incredible eight goals at the 2022 tournament – including that treble in the final defeat on penalties by Argentina – to draw level with Pele on 12 in World Cup tournaments.

But Mbappe blanked at Euro 2020, and his missed penalty in the shootout proved costly as Switzerland knocked France out in the last 16.

And despite heading to Germany as the man to watch, Mbappe again struggled, scoring a solitary penalty in the 1-1 group-stage draw with Poland. That result meant France missed out on top spot and faced a more difficult draw in the knockouts.

Mbappe had nine shots on target during the tournament but created just three chances – including his superb assist for Randal Kolo Muani’s opener against Spain.

“Mbappe delivered a wonderful ball – but that was the only bit of quality in the final third that France showed,” former England defender Rio Ferdinand said on BBC One.

“That is not enough in a game of this magnitude. Mbappe will be disappointed with his tournament. This is not what we have come to expect.”

In 14 appearances at the World Cup Mbappe averages 1.11 goals and assists per 90 minutes – compared to just 0.32 in nine Euros appearances.

His big moment in the semi-final came late on as he cut inside the Spanish defence but leaned back and skied his shot.

“That is a goal he has scored a thousand times in his career,” said French football expert Julien Laurens on BBC Radio 5 Live.

“Mbappe didn’t take his chance and, when it mattered the most, France lacked a bit of magic.”

Video caption, Mbappe’s night ends with a nasty injury and a booking

Mbappe’s tournament was undoubtedly affected when he broke his nose in the final moments of their opening match against Austria. The injury forced him to miss the 0-0 draw with the Netherlands before he returned – wearing a mask – to score against Poland.

The mask clearly caused Mbappe some issues, and he was seen adjusting it during several games, before jettisoning it altogether for the Spain match.

Asked if the injury had held him back, the 25-year-old simply said: “It was everything.

“You shouldn’t overcomplicate it, it was either good or it was not. Voila, I was not good and we are going home. It’s simple.”

Manager Didier Deschamps had admitted earlier in the tournament that Mbappe’s mask was an issue but said after Tuesday night’s loss it “was more of an inconvenience than anything else”.

“I am not going to give the responsibility to one player more than another,” he added.

“When you get to the semi-finals and play a Spain team of that quality you have to be at your best and we were not.”

Well, after winning the league title seven times in France with Monaco and Paris St-Germain, he will be aiming to add the Champions League next season after his move to Madrid, where he will form an eye-catching attacking line-up with Jude Bellingham, Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo.

“I’ll be going on holiday,” said Mbappe.

“I will rest which will do me good, and then I’ll come back very strong in a new town with a new boss.”

Over to you, Carlo Ancelotti.

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