Euro 2024: France through but scoring struggles and Kylian Mbappe mask issues continue


During France's victory over Belgium in the last-16 match, Kylian Mbappe seemed to keep adjusting his mask, showing that he is still getting used to wearing it.

However, he is not the sole player in France's attacking position who appears uneasy, as the team once again struggled to score.

However, it wasn't until the 85th minute that Les Bleus secured their spot in the quarter-finals of Euro 2024. This was thanks to a deflected strike from Randal Kolo Muani which resulted in a Jan Vertonghen own goal.

This makes it three goals for them in Germany, and none of those goals have been scored without any set pieces or penalties.

France took 19 shots against Belgium, but only managed to get two on target. In the end, luck played a role in helping them secure the win.

Target achievements have been a topic of discussion in France press meetings following matches in Germany, but boss Didier Deschamps remained resolute in defending his team's performance in the offensive phase.

Deschamps stated that even if the goal was deflected or an own goal, someone still had to take a shot that resulted in the ball going into the net.

Soccer at its core is about enjoyment, and putting the ball in the net is a key aspect of that.

I had a chat with a French supporter before Monday's game in Dusseldorf, and he mentioned that he found the team to be quite dull. The numbers certainly support his point of view.

Out of all the teams still in the competition, they have scored the least amount of goals with only three. This is seven goals less than the hosts Germany, who instead of barely making it through, appear to be gaining strength in each match.

France has scored all three of their goals from set pieces or penalties, not from regular gameplay.

Austria scored a goal on themselves which led to them winning their first game of the tournament. Then, Mbappe scored a penalty against Poland to secure their second win. The third goal came from Vertonghen accidentally scoring on his own team.

Although Deschamps did not confess to it being an issue, he did admit that it is a matter that requires enhancement.

"We have the ability to score more goals," he stated. "It has been challenging for us during the Euros, but we have still had opportunities to score."

We must take control of our fate to ensure things work in our favor, but we don't want it to become a mental obstacle.

France got lucky when they played against Belgium because the Belgian team showed them too much respect and played defensively for most of the game.

As they progress further in the competition and come up against tougher opponents, they may rely on their forwards to step up and produce results.

Former England midfielder Izzy Christiansen shared on BBC Radio 5 Live that she believes in football, you can sometimes make your own luck. However, she doesn't think they will have any more luck in the future.

"They need to take charge and show that it belongs to them."

Deschamps has attempted various methods to improve his attacking players, such as subbing out Antoine Griezmann and adjusting the team's setup.

However, the 55-year-old is aware that if Mbappe can get used to wearing a protective mask for his broken nose, it could make a big difference.

The new Real Madrid forward has netted 48 goals in 82 games for France and an impressive 256 goals in 308 matches at his former team, Paris St-Germain.

In the match against Belgium, the player showed good movement by rapidly moving his body to create opportunities, but he struggled to score goals. Many of his shots missed the target by just a few meters, when usually they would have been successful.

"He is becoming accustomed to it," Deschamps emphasized.

Perspiration can still be a nuisance for him, as it may drip into his eyes. Although it may seem like a minor issue for his eyesight, even fractions of a second can make a difference.

"He will need to adjust to it as he may need to wear it for several weeks or even a couple of months."

France will be keeping their fingers crossed that Mbappe can adjust to the mask quickly so they can be at their best when the quarter-finals kick off.

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