Even after ditching the mask, Mbappé's Euro 2024 comes to a disappointing end with loss to Spain


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MUNICH (AP) — Without his mask, Kylian Mbappé was overshadowed by a talented 16-year-old player.

Mbappé decided to stop wearing the mask that was limiting his vision after he broke his nose during France's first game. However, despite this change, France lost 2-1 to Spain in the semi-finals on Tuesday. Lamine Yamal made history by becoming the youngest player to score a goal in the European Championship during this match.

Yamal will be playing in the Euro 2024 final on Sunday, just one day after turning 17, while Mbappé will be enjoying a vacation before starting with his new team, Real Madrid.

"I wanted to become the European champion, I wanted to have a successful Euros - but unfortunately, I didn't achieve either," Mbappé expressed.

"It's a bummer that we have to leave for vacation. I plan to relax and recharge so that I can return refreshed and ready for a successful pre-season training."

On Monday, France's coach Didier Deschamps mentioned that Mbappé would need to wear a mask for an extended period - possibly for weeks or even months. Therefore, it was unexpected to see him play in Munich without the mask that had previously been a source of irritation for him.

"I was frustrated, I couldn't see properly," Mbappé explained. "I consulted the doctor for advice and he advised me to act decisively, and I stand by my decision."

Euro 2024 hadn't been successful for Mbappé and France so far. Before Tuesday's game, no French player had scored a goal from open play. Their three goals had come from a penalty by Mbappé and two own-goals.

In Germany, Mbappé tried to score a goal 23 times. Deco, who had 24 attempts at Euro 2004, holds the record for the most shots without scoring a goal.

Mbappé, who is 25 years old, said that wearing a mask was very uncomfortable. When he took it off, he quickly made an impact on the game by assisting in France's goal in the ninth minute. He made a precise cross to the back post for Randal Kolo Muani to score with a header.

The French star had a great opportunity to score and tie the game in extra time. He was set up on the left side by Bradley Barcola with just four minutes left in the match.

Mbappé looked like he was going to score for sure, especially in front of the French supporters. He sprinted into the penalty area and skillfully moved past Spain's defender Dani Vivian, but surprisingly he missed the target by shooting the ball over the crossbar.

"I felt like I needed to make a goal, or at least make a shot on target," he stated. "It ended up going over and that's just how tough football can be."

European Championship 2024: Check out the latest updates on the upcoming tournament on the AP News website! Stay informed about all the exciting events and matches happening in Euro 2024.

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