France coach Deschamps encouraged by Mbappe return

<a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:France;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">France</a> coach Didier Deschamps shakes hands with <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Kylian Mbappe;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Kylian Mbappe</a> at the end of the 1-1 draw with <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Poland;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Poland</a> on Tuesday (INA FASSBENDER)

France coach Didier Deschamps was encouraged by Kylian Mbappe's performance on his return to action after suffering a broken nose, as the star forward scored in Tuesday's 1-1 draw with Poland at Euro 2024.

"After all he has been through, between the collision and the first three days after it, it was difficult for him, but I thought he looked pretty good and fairly lively," Deschamps said following the match in Dortmund.

Wearing a protective face mask, Mbappe put France ahead from the penalty spot early in the second half in the Group D finale, but Robert Lewandowski's spot-kick at the other end earned Poland a draw.

The new Real Madrid signing missed France's 0-0 draw with the Netherlands last Friday after breaking his nose in a collision late in their 1-0 win over Austria on June 17.

"He is getting used to wearing the mask, although when he sweats it runs into his eyes," Deschamps said.

"But he was full of desire and this game will be useful for him going into the next match."

Tuesday's result meant France finished second in their group behind Austria, leaving them to face a last-16 tie next Monday against the runners-up in Group E, which will be Romania, Belgium, Slovakia or Ukraine.

They are also now in what appears to be the tougher half of the draw, with Portugal, Spain and Germany all potential opponents before the final.

France managed just one win and two goals during the group stage. Before Mbappe's penalty, the only other time they had found the net was via an own goal.

"I am not disappointed, not at all, honestly. OK we wanted to finish first, but we have done what we had to do," Deschamps replied when asked if he was dissatisfied with how the group stage had gone.

"We were in a very tough group. We beat Austria but they finished top. We have achieved our first objective. We know when we will play next, although we don't know who yet. A new competition starts now."

He insisted France could have beaten Poland, whose goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski was named man of the match for his performance in Dortmund.

"We had lots of chances, five in the first half alone. It wasn't just a lack of precision. There were also saves by the goalkeeper.

"But obviously we will have a better chance of winning if we manage to score more goals."

Deschamps also defended his decision to drop Antoine Griezmann from the starting line-up, saying it was not a reflection of the Atletico Madrid player's performances in previous matches.

"It was just a choice I made. That's all. There is no need to interpret anything," he said after handing young winger Bradley Barcola his first international start instead.

"I am not adapting to the opposition but I do try to put out the most dangerous team to beat who we are up against.

"We wanted to have pace in attack up against the big players in the Poland side."