Euro 2024. Take off the mask for Kylian Mbappé, captain in difficulty who must become himself again to carry the Blues

Euro 2024. Take off the mask for Kylian Mbappé, captain in difficulty who must become himself again to carry the Blues

Little seen during the last matches, Kylian Mbappé is eagerly awaited against Spain. firo Sportphoto – Sebastian El-Saqqa

Since his broken nose during the opening match, the captain of the Blues no longer makes a difference. An element that can count during this clash against Spain, this Tuesday July 9 (9 p.m.) in the semi-final of the Euro.

Spain is pawing with impatience. Or rather Madrid, which is preparing to welcome Kylian Mbappé to Real in a few weeks. The White House begins to dream of its future “Fantastic 4”, Belligham, Vinicius, Rodrygo and therefore “Kyky”. Before challenging the Blues, La Roja is aware of the danger. But she doesn’t seem to care more than that. Because in Germany, the French captain drags his mask like a ball and spreads the feeling of never having been himself since his broken nose, during the opening match against Austria , June 17.

"I had the impression in the first days that I was in 3D, that I was invited as a VIP to the Euro and that it was not not me who played, Mbappé smiled yellow before the round of 16 against Belgium. I have no choice, I can't play without it. This is annoying."

A physique in question

That's it for an entire French attack: despite 86 shots (45 on target) in five games, they still haven't scored in the game, and only scored a goal from the penalty spot , by N.10 against Poland, and two own goals, the first of which he caused against the Austrians.

"We didn't score but we're here. Imagine if Kylian, Antoine (Griezmann) start to crash, we are European champions in ten days!", Youssouf Fofana quipped ironically, the day before yesterday.< /p>

This Tuesday, the usual Spanish right-back, Dani Carvajal, being suspended, Mbappé could find himself facing Jesus Navas, 38 years old and the only veteran of the 2010 world title. Does the Frenchman have the physical means to bringing hell to life ? His exit against Portugal, after 106 messy minutes of play, reminded us of his current limitations. "I told him (to Didier Deschamps) that I no longer felt, that I was too tired, and he changed me", he explained, after having already confided that he had not "all his legs".

The truncated season at Paris Saint-Germain, where he slipped to the bench after announcing his future departure in February, is not unrelated. & quot;He also had a back problem during preparation, then there was this trauma,added Deschamps on Monday. It could have stopped, but he's still there."

Predictable but no longer leader

On the ground, the findings are debatable. With 20 shots (8 on target) without finding the fault, and already 43 lost balls, Mbappé calls out. Especially since he spoils situations that he generally makes his money from. "I knew what I was getting myself into by choosing to stay, not to be operate", he said.

More predictable, less instinctive and feline, too still, “Kyky” pointed out last week “the characteristics of the players we have” to justify his less aerial game. If Paul Pogba is indeed no longer there to fuel him and the musicians have changed, he too plays a different part.

That of a leader, with a captain's armband worn for the first time in a major competition. “He was born for this. He gives ideas, advice to the team. To pull the group forward”, affirmed Randal Kolo Muani, Sunday. Two days earlier, against the Seleçao, Mbappé had spoken before the penalty shootout. “We worked on it, it's a technical move. Put aside everything else. It's you and the goalkeeper! It's a technical move, let's go for it. No matter what happens, we're all together!”, he thundered to his teammates.

More charismatic, like his commitment to the elections, but less clinical, Mbappé is experiencing a Euro that goes against expectations. The fault of a mask that must fall today. So that Spain also sees its true face.

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