Mbappé ‘Improving Daily’, Eager to Face Poland

Mbappé return against Poland

DORTMUND, Germany (AP) — French superstar Kylian Mbappé is nearing a return at the European Championship. The Real Madrid-bound forward broke his nose in France’s 1-0 win over Austria and missed the 0-0 draw with the Netherlands on Friday.

France coach Didier Deschamps was non-committal Monday about Mbappé’s availability for the Group D decider against Poland on Tuesday. Mbappé will need to wear a protective mask if he plays.

“He’s getting better every day — he participated in our training session, and the bruise has gone down. He’s adjusting to the mask,” Deschamps said, smiling. “He’s eager to play. He wanted to play against the Netherlands and wants to play tomorrow against Poland.”

Deschamps mentioned he hadn’t received final approval from the medical team for Mbappé’s inclusion.

“I need to consult with different players,” Deschamps added with a smile.

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Midfielder N’Golo Kante provided a hint, noting, “Kylian’s qualities are well known. Our lack of efficiency in front of goal might be addressed with Kylian’s return, which could help us win.”

Kante described Mbappé as “great, decisive, and dangerous” in Sunday’s practice, hoping this form translates to the pitch.

Mbappé played a behind-closed-doors match against a local Paderborn team on Saturday, wearing his mask, and has worn it in all training sessions.

Deschamps acknowledged the mask limits Mbappé’s vision but downplayed it as a constraint.

“It affects his vision slightly, not his breathing,” Deschamps noted. “In one-on-ones, it’s a matter of his field of vision. It’s a minor hindrance, but he’ll adapt.”

Poland captain Robert Lewandowski, who previously played with a protective mask, empathized, noting its difficulty, especially for strikers.

“It’s tough, particularly in the penalty box,” Lewandowski recalled. “It slowed my reactions and vision, affecting my play. Health comes first, but it’s challenging.”

France needs a point against Poland at Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion to secure a knockout stage berth.

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