Everything going in right direction – France upbeat over Kylian Mbappe fitness

Kylian Mbappe will be given until the last minute to prove his fitness for France’s Euro 2024 showdown with the Netherlands as he prepares to play with a protective mask over his broken nose.

The 25-year-old skipper suffered the injury in his side’s 1-0 Group D victory over Austria in their opening fixture on Monday but has not yet been ruled out of Friday’s clash with the Dutch in Leipzig.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, head coach Didier Deschamps said: “Everything is going in the right direction after this major shock with the consequences.

“Yesterday he went out, he did a little activity. This will also be the case this evening. Things are moving in the right direction to ensure that he is available tomorrow.”

World Cup finalists France would book their place in the last 16 with victory over Ronald Koeman’s side, who go into the game also having banked three points, in their case courtesy of a 2-1 win over Poland.

Whether Mbappe plays or not – he wore a red white and blue mask for the start of training on Thursday evening – Deschamps insists his team will take the game to the Netherlands.

He said: “We may have to defend, but that should not be our first objective, even if we must be able to do it when necessary. First you have to go forward and give them problems.

France manager Didier Deschamps ahead of the UEFA Euro 2024 Group D match against Austria at the Dusseldorf Arena
France manager Didier Deschamps is taking nothing for granted ahead of the Group D clash with the Netherlands (Nick Potts/PA)

“We will aim to put the Dutch team in difficulty, knowing that they have the capacity to bring danger.

“We achieved our objective of winning the first game, but now – as is also the case for the Dutch – it is about winning this game and qualifying. As for any coach, it’s about ensuring we perform as well as possible and are as dangerous as we can be for the opposition.”

Opposite number Koeman will send his troops into battle demanding a 90-minute performance after seeing them come from behind to beat the Poles courtesy of substitute Wout Weghorst’s late strike.

Koeman said: “The lesson we learned against Poland was that that we have to play at a high level for 90 minutes, not just 60.

“Also that you have to be patient and always have in the back of your mind what could happen if you lose the ball.”

The Dutch face Austria in Berlin on Tuesday, while the French head for Dortmund to meet Poland in the final round of group games.