Euro 2024: Playing with a mask is horrible – Mbappe

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Screenshot 2024 07 01 094214

Image caption: Kylian Mbappe has scored one goal so far at Euro 2024

France captain Kylian Mbappe says he finds playing with a mask on “absolutely horrible” as he prepares to lead his side in their Euro 2024 last-16 match with Belgium on Monday.
The 25-year-old striker broke his nose in a collision during his side’s 1-0 win against Austria in their opening game of the tournament.
He missed the goalless draw with the Netherlands but returned and scored as France drew 1-1 with Poland.

Mbappe wore a protective mask in that game but said he found it uncomfortable.
“I didn’t think it would be, but playing with a mask is absolutely horrible,” Mbappe said before the Belgium game in Dusseldorf.
“I have changed [the mask] because every time there was something that wasn’t right.
“It is really difficult. It limits your vision and the sweat gets blocked up so you have to take it off to let it run away.
“As soon as I can take it off I will do, but I don’t have a choice. That is how my tournament is going to be. I can only play like that.
“It is really annoying, but I have to just say thanks to the mask.”
Mbappe’s goal against Poland was a penalty, meaning France are yet to score from open play at the tournament.
“It’s not the group matches anymore,” boss Didier Deschamps said. “It’s a new competition within the competition.
“You have to be efficient. To win matches, you have to score. That’s not done by snapping your fingers, but you need to move the cursor [closer to goal].”
These two sides met in the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup, with France winning 1-0 on their way to lifting the trophy.
Like Les Bleus, Belgium finished second in their group, drawing 0-0 with Ukraine to ensure progression.
Both sides are yet to click into gear, but Belgium coach Domenico Tedesco believes the chances they are creating means their luck will turn.
“The quality and quantity of chances we made in the first three games was unbelievable,” he said.
“It is unbelievable that we scored only two goals in three games, and France too, but this is football.”
Belgium were booed after the goalless draw with Ukraine, but midfielder Orel Mangala believes the fans will be behind them on Monday.
“I believe that has been cleared up,” he said.
“I can understand that [reaction]. We we were all frustrated. Now we are facing a new match and I hope that all the fans stand with us and we’ll play with a lot of imagination.”

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