Soccer-Mbappe fit to face Netherlands - wearing a mask


FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Euro 2024 - France Training - Paderborn Arena, Paderborn, Germany - June 19, 2024 France's Kylian Mbappe is seen with nose plasters as he speaks to coach Didier Deschamps during training REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/File Photo

LEIPZIG, Germany (Reuters) -France captain Kylian Mbappe should be available for their second European Championship group game against the Netherlands after breaking his nose in their opening 1-0 win over Austria, manager Didier Deschamps said on Thursday.

The striker was injured in a collision with Austria's Kevin Danso, and the 25-year-old forward took to social media to ask for help in finding a protective mask so he could face the Dutch in Group D on Friday.

"Everything is going in the right direction after this major shock he had, with the consequences, of course," Deschamps told reporters.

"Yesterday, as you could see, he was able to go out and do some activity. That will be the case tonight too.

"So it has evolved in the right direction to ensure that he can be available tomorrow."

Mbappe tried on the specially made mask on Thursday.

"Kylian Mbappe will be wearing a mask yes, you don't really need to know the details about this mask," Deschamps said.

"I think you've got enough moles to find out where these masks come from anyway."

The French are willing to leave it as late as possible before deciding on whether Mbappe will start, just four days after his injury.

"Kylian is doing well. The swelling has come down on his nose," France forward Antoine Griezmann said.

"We'll see the last minute, depending on how he's feeling.

If Mbappe is unable to play, Griezmann is confident the French side can cope with his absence.

"I think the entire team would have to adapt. I really don't know if he's going to be playing. Having one of the best players in the world on the pitch or not definitely changes things," he said.

"But you always have to adapt to each match. And that's what I really love to do. So it doesn't matter what the technical choices are for tomorrow."

For Deschamps, whether Mbappe plays or not does not change the way he approaches the game.

"I try to talk to the players who are going to start the game, and the players who are not going to start the game," Deschamps said.

"We are a group. You need to manage the group. It was the same with the first match, the players who will start and those who will be on the bench.

"Everyone has to be ready. I don't think it's anything special."

The Netherlands also won their opening game, coming from behind to beat Poland 2-1.

(Additional reporting by Rohith Nair, editing by Ed Osmond)

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