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


During France's last-16 victory against Belgium, Kylian Mbappe seemed to be trying to get his mask to fit properly, showing that he is still adjusting to wearing it.

However, he is not the sole player in France's attacking lineup who seems out of place as the team once again struggled to score.

Instead of that, an own goal by Jan Vertonghen in the 85th minute secured Les Bleus' spot in the quarter-finals of Euro 2024 after Randal Kolo Muani's shot deflected off him.

That brought their total number of goals in Germany to three, with none of them coming from regular plays.

France tried to score 19 times against Belgium, but only managed to get 2 shots on goal. Luckily, they were able to advance with a bit of luck on their side.

The topic of goals, or the absence thereof, has been frequently brought up in French media interviews following matches in Germany. Despite criticism of his team's effectiveness in scoring, manager Didier Deschamps remained resolute in his defense.

Deschamps explained that even if it was a goal that bounced off another player or their own team, someone still had to take the shot. Ultimately, the ball found its way into the goal.

Football at its core is about providing enjoyment, and scoring goals is a key element in achieving that.

Talking to a French supporter before Monday's game in Dusseldorf, he mentioned that he found the team uninteresting, and looking at the stats, it's difficult to disagree.

Out of all the teams left in the tournament, they have only scored three goals, which is the least amount. This is seven goals less than the hosts, Germany, who are not just barely advancing but are actually gaining strength in each game they play.

France has not scored any goals from regular play.

Austria scored a goal against themselves, giving them a win in their first tournament game. They then scored a penalty against Poland thanks to Mbappe, and their third goal came from Vertonghen accidentally scoring on his own team.

Although Deschamps did not openly admit to it being a problem, he did acknowledge that there is room for improvement.

"We have consistently shown that we have the ability to score more goals," he stated. "Although it has been challenging for us during the Euro tournament, we have still had opportunities to score."

"We must strive for our desired outcomes, but we must also avoid letting fear hold us back."

France had good luck when they played against Belgium because the Belgian team showed too much respect and played too cautiously for most of the game.

As they continue in the competition and come up against tougher opponents, they may need their strikers to step up and score goals.

"I believe that in football, you can often make your own luck. However, I don't believe that they will continue to be fortunate," stated ex-England midfielder Izzy Christiansen in an interview on BBC Radio 5 Live.

"Now they must take ownership of it."

Deschamps has experimented with various tactics to get his strikers scoring, such as putting Antoine Griezmann on the bench and adjusting the team formation.

However, the 55-year-old is aware that having Mbappe feel at ease while wearing a protective mask for his broken nose could make a big difference.

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

During the match against Belgium, the player showed good movement by moving his body swiftly to create space. However, his finishing touch was lacking as he frequently missed the target by a few meters, when normally he would be scoring goals.

Deschamps emphasized that he is becoming accustomed to it.

Perspiration can still cause issues for him. It can drip into his eyes, which is troublesome for his vision. Even though it may only be a matter of milliseconds, it is crucial.

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

France is counting on Mbappe to adjust to wearing the mask quickly so that they can perform at their best when the quarter-finals start.

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