With masked Mbappé? France wants to maintain dominance over the Netherlands

LEIPZIG, Germany — Former champions France and the Netherlands meet in their second match at the European Championship. France have won seven of the teams’ last eight meetings, including home and away wins in qualifying. This build-up has been overshadowed by speculation over whether French star Kylian Mbappe can play after breaking his nose in the opening win over Austria. Kick-off is Friday at 9pm local (7pm GMT). Here’s what you need to know about the competition:

Match facts

— Mbappe broke his nose on Monday when his face collided with the shoulder of Austrian defender Kevin Danso. Blood stained his white France jersey. If he plays on Friday, he will have to wear a mask. But it remains uncertain. Mbappé returned to light training on Wednesday.

— If he does play, the France captain hopes to finally score at a European Championship at the sixth attempt. Mbappe has scored 47 goals in 80 appearances for France, including 12 in European Championship qualifying, but he is yet to score in five games at the tournament.

— France and the Netherlands are level on three points in Group D. The Netherlands came from behind to beat Poland 2-1 and France needed an own goal to beat Austria 1-0.

— France defeated the Netherlands 4-0 at home and 2-1 away in qualifying. The Dutch were second in the group.

— Dutch striker Xavi Simons returns to Leipzig, where he was loaned to Paris Saint-Germain last season. Xavi, 21, scored eight goals in 32 Bundesliga appearances to help Leipzig finish fourth. The German club hopes he will be back next season. He has already played fifteen games for the Netherlands.

France’s Kylian Mbappe, left, gestures as he speaks to his head coach Didier Deschamps during a training session in Paderborn, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. France play the Netherlands in their Group D football match at the Euro 2024 football tournament on June 21. Credit: AP/Hassan Ammar

— The Netherlands won Euro ’88 with current coach Ronald Koeman in the team alongside the brilliant trio of Ruud Gullit, Marco van Basten and Frank Rijkaard, who played together for AC Milan.

— The Dutch team won their three group matches last edition, after which they lost to the Czech Republic in the eighth finals.

– France won Euro ’84 as hosts, and then – with Didier Deschamps as captain – Euro 2000 after leading the team to the World Cup title as hosts in 1998. Deschamps took over as France coach in 2012 and led France to another World Cup title in 2018.

— Other group members Austria and Poland will play in Berlin earlier Friday.

Dutch head coach Ronald Koeman watches from the bench just before kick-off of a Group D match between Poland and the Netherlands during the Euro 2024 football tournament in Hamburg, Germany, Sunday, June 16, 2024. Credit: AP/Sunday Alamba

Team news

— France’s biggest question mark is Mbappé. Deschamps was expected to give an injury update on Thursday.

— Dutch midfielders Frenkie de Jong and Teun Koopmeiners dropped out of the tournament due to injuries.

By the numbers

— In total, France has won 15 of the teams’ 30 previous meetings, while the Netherlands won 11. The Netherlands scored more goals in those matches; 57 to 53.

— In the last four major tournaments – World Cups and European Championships – France has reached the finals in three places. The exception was Euro 2021, where Deschamps’ team headed to Switzerland on penalties in the first knockout stages after blowing a two-goal lead with nine minutes to go.

— France defeated Gibraltar 14-0 for a new European Championship qualifying record and the country’s biggest win.

What they say

“All the people wearing orange walking through the streets, and of course here in the stadium, fantastic, beautiful. I’ve always dreamed of this and so far it certainly hasn’t disappointed.” — Dutch goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen.

“Our last meetings against the Netherlands go back a while, but I remember our solidity, our ability to make the difference in attack. We knew how to be efficient, and we’ll have to do that again on Friday. Above all, we will have to have the same intensity as against Austria. It is an essential ingredient to get as far as possible in this competition.” — French midfielder Adrien Rabiot.

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