• Sunday, July 21, 2024
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Euro 2024: France denied top spot


France missed the chance to finish top in their group despite Kylian Mbappe scoring his first goal of Euro 2024 in a 1-1 draw against Poland on Tuesday. Austria secured the top spot by winning a thrilling match against the Netherlands.

Didier Deschamps’ team failed to top their group at a major tournament for the first time since Euro 2012, suffering from a series of missed opportunities.

“We’ve achieved our first objective,” said Deschamps. “Even if we don’t have the spot we were aiming for because we are second. A new competition is about to start.”

Austria, who had lost their opening game to France, clinched a 3-2 victory over the Dutch, securing a last-16 berth and relegating their already-qualified opponents to third place in Group D.

France dominated for long periods against Poland but have only scored twice in Germany — an own goal by Austria’s Maximilian Woeber and Mbappe’s penalty.

Les Bleus will face the runners-up from Group E, where Belgium, Ukraine, Romania, and Slovakia all have three points, in the last 16.

Poland goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski, playing in place of Wojciech Szczesny, made two fine saves to deny Mbappe — who was wearing a mask after breaking his nose against Austria — in the opening period.

Mbappe finally broke his Euros duck in the 56th minute, slotting in a penalty after Ousmane Dembele was fouled by Jakub Kiwior just inside the box.

However, Poland was awarded a spot-kick themselves with 13 minutes remaining for a foul on Karol Swiderski. Robert Lewandowski’s weak initial effort was comfortably saved by Mike Maignan, but the France goalkeeper had strayed off his line and the Poland talisman converted his second attempt.