France vs Netherlands Ends in Euro 2024’s First Scoreless Match with Mbappé on Bench

Mbappé Watches from Subs (France Team/Euro 2024)

Kylian Mbappé observed from the bench as France and the Netherlands played out a goalless draw in a highly anticipated European Championship encounter on Friday.

Antoine Griezmann had the best opportunities for France, while the Netherlands saw a goal from Xavi Simons disallowed, resulting in the tournament’s first scoreless match.

Both teams now sit on four points in Group D after their second games, with Poland eliminated earlier in the day following a 3-1 loss to Austria. Poland will finish bottom of the group regardless of their final match outcome against France.

Mbappe out of France’s starting (France Team/Euro 2024)

The lead-up to the match was dominated by speculation over Mbappé’s participation, after the French captain broke his nose in their 1-0 win against Austria.

Despite training with a protective mask and coach Didier Deschamps expressing optimism, Mbappé eventually remained on the bench as a precautionary measure in a match where France did not need to secure a win.

“Kylian is progressing well and each day he is improving. If this had been a decisive game, I would have considered playing him,” Deschamps commented. “It’s a risk for him. Each passing day brings improvement, so I felt it was wiser to keep him sidelined.”

France created their best chances in the second half, with Aurélien Tchouaméni’s header going over the bar, Bart Verbruggen denying Griezmann from close range, and Ousmane Dembélé coming close to scoring.

The Dutch appeared to break the deadlock in the 69th minute when Xavi Simons scored from a rebound after Mike Maignan saved a shot from Memphis Depay. However, jubilant celebrations from Dutch fans were short-lived as VAR ruled out the goal due to Denzel Dumfries’ offside position, which obstructed Maignan.

Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman disagreed with the decision, believing the goal should have stood. Griezmann had the best chances for France in the early stages, forcing a save from Verbruggen before a missed opportunity with Adrien Rabiot.

Despite needing an own goal to beat Austria, France has yet to score in Euro 2024. “We had several opportunities but lacked efficiency in front of goal,” Deschamps remarked. “Nevertheless, I’m satisfied with our performance despite our inability to score.”

Dutch fans, remarkably outnumbering their French counterparts, brought lively energy to Leipzig’s city center. Meanwhile, French supporters also showed enthusiastic support. One French fan brought a live rooster to the stadium, though it remained unclear if the bird had a valid ticket for the game.