Kylian Mbappe makes goalscoring return to France line-up but draw could prove costly

Kylian Mbappe removes his protective mask to reveal a worried look

It was a sweltering hot day in Dortmund and the sweat that formed inside Kylian Mbappe’s mask would, Didier Deschamps somewhat colourfully revealed, end up stinging the player’s eyes.

But there may be much greater discomfort around the corner if France and their star striker do not rediscover their mojo, and fast.

The punishment here for failing to earn the victory that would have secured top spot in Group D is that France have been thrown into that half of the knockout-stage draw housing hosts Germany, the tournament’s in-form team Spain and dark horses Portugal.

Time will tell how costly that proves and Deschamps could sense an inquest already forming back in France as he reacted with irritation to persistent questions about his omission of Antoine Griezmann from his starting XI against Poland.

“I don’t know what gossip you’re hearing from the local butcher or baker,” the France coach said sarcastically, eager to nip any rumours of unrest in the bud. “There will be unhappy lads in my team because not everyone can play but I’m not here to make everyone happy.”

How did Griezmann handle the news? “He took it with a smile,” Deschamps said. “There are no issues. He plays every game, he came on for 20 minutes. There’s no problem.”

France's William Saliba, Dayot Upamecano and Randal Kolo Muani react after the match
France players know they have to do it the hard way (from the tougher side of the draw) if they are to win this tournament - Reuters/Leon Kuegeler

Yet there was also an acknowledgement from Deschamps that his side had to improve, most notably in front of goal, and he hopes the short break between now and Monday’s last-16 tie in Dusseldorf when players and staff will have the opportunity to relax with their families will allow for a reset. Because France, much like England, need one.

Their two goals in this tournament have been an own goal and a penalty, converted here by Mbappe before penalty controversy at the other end allowed Robert Lewandowski to snatch an equaliser at the second attempt. No France player has scored from open play in 270 minutes and, for a team bursting with attacking riches, that is puzzling.

It was not as if they could not create chances against Poland – they managed 19 shots and had 55 touches in their opposition box. Ousmane Dembele had the beating of his full-back and won the penalty when tripped by Jakub Kiwior, Bradley Barcola had flashes of inspiration and Mbappe was denied on three occasions either side of half-time before giving France the lead.

But the final pass eluded them too often, there were a number of inviting balls that whizzed across the six-yard box that were screaming out for someone to attack and, when Poland’s second-choice goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski was not making a nuisance of himself, there was a casualness in front of the net.

Skorupski had been told a couple of days earlier that he would be starting ahead of first choice Wojciech Szczesny, who had admitted in the week he might retire from international football after the Euros and may now have had his mind made up for good.

This was just the 11th appearance of an international career for Skorupski spanning 12 years and it is fair to say the Bologna No 1 – a key component in the Italian club’s march to Champions League qualification last season – made the most of a rare opportunity. He made seven saves all told and Mbappe, for one, will be glad to see the back of him. “I’ve shown today, if Wojciech wants to finish his career, I’m ready to be No 1, but it’s up to the coach,” Skorupski said.

Kylian Mbappe of France celebrates scoring the opening goal from the penalty spot
Mbappe celebrates scoring his penalty

It was a frustrating afternoon for Mbappe, who must have thought France would have enough to see out the game after his coolly taken penalty put the pre-tournament favourites in front 11 minutes after the restart. The black protective face mask he had been ordered to wear after suffering a broken nose in the slender opening win to the eventual group winners Austria was clearly bothersome. He waited until moments before kick-off to put it on and then could not wait to remove it as soon as a drinks break was called after half an hour in the searing heat and needed a towel to wipe away all the sweat.

“I thought he was quite good on his feet but with his mask he needs to get used to it,” Deschamps said. “When he sweats, it stings in his eyes and he needs to wipe his eyes but he is always so keen to play and the game will do him good.”

Poland were dogged, albeit reliant at various junctures on their goalkeeper, but they grew in strength and confidence as the game went on and got the break they hoped for after a brief period of pressure. Karol Swiderski’s introduction gave them more impetus going forward and it was the substitute who won the penalty when he was tripped by Dayot Upamecano and referee Marco Guida was sent to the pitchside monitor by the Var.

Mike Maignan’s attempt to psych out Lewandowski appeared to have worked when, after his trademark stuttering run-up, the Barcelona striker saw France’s goalkeeper guess the right way and save low to his right. Yet Lewandowski signalled almost immediately that Maignan had stepped off his line, Guida agreed and ordered a retake. Lewandowski went for the same corner and this time made no mistake.

Deschamps put on a brave face afterwards but he will be ruing France’s failure to avoid the tougher half of the draw.

France held by Poland: As it happened...

07:13 PM BST

James Ducker’s verdict: Bad news for France, but potentially good news for England

07:05 PM BST

A stat that sums up France’s problem

07:00 PM BST

Austria have beaten the Netherlands 3-2

So that means this is how Group D finished...

  • Austria 6 (Q)

  • France 5 (Q)

  • Netherlands 4 (Q)

  • Poland 1

06:58 PM BST

FULL-TIME: France 1 Poland 1

That was the last action of the game that will go down in the ‘disappointing’ file as far as the French are concerned. They were a lot of people’s favourites heading into this tournament but on the basis of the group stage it’s hard to make that case now. Today’s match was a microcosm of the group stage - they looked good until the final third then lacked any cutting edge. There’s something that wasn’t quite there for Mbappe and Co...

All credit to Poland who were well worth the draw.

06:56 PM BST

95 mins: France 1 Poland 1

Mbappe goes down under a challenge in the box. The France captain is sure it was a penalty, Deschamps is apoplectic..but the ref and VAR think otherwise. The replay suggests that Dawidowicz did make a clumsy challenge and go through Mbappe. BUT there’s not to be a third penalty.

Mbappe thought it was a penalty, so did his manager Deschamps, but the referee, Marco Guida, did not...
Mbappe thought it was a penalty, so did his manager Deschamps, but the referee, Marco Guida, did not... - AP/Themba Hadebe

06:53 PM BST

93 mins: France 1 Poland 1

Hernandez is manhandled on the left when on the charge. It’s a France free-kick and once again no one can get on the end of, this time, a decent ball. Story of their day from open play and set pieces.

06:52 PM BST

92 mins: France 1 Poland 1

Mbappe has the ball just outside the box on the left. He cuts inside and lets fly, the shot taking a deflection and looping into the grateful arms of the impressive Skorupski.

06:50 PM BST

90 mins: France 1 Poland 1

France’s 11th corner - can they create something from this? Once again the answer to that poser is ‘non’. They have been poor from set pieces today.

06:50 PM BST

89 mins: France 1 Poland 1

Five minutes of added time to play...enough time to score and concede...

06:48 PM BST

87 mins: France 1 Poland 1

Mbappe has just take off his mask having been hit on the nose (the broken nose) by Lewandowski...ouch.

Free-kick for Poland in the France half, the French snuff out the danger and now have little more than three minutes to find a winner they need to top the group...

06:46 PM BST

85 mins: France 1 Poland 1

Corner for France  and for the eighth, possibly ninth, time today they haven’t created a thing from it...

The ball ultimately comes back into the box and they have another corner.

Once again nothing is created 10/10 in terms of poor delivery etc etc.

06:45 PM BST

82 mins: France 1 Poland 1

Lewandowski may be in the autumn of his career and have a dodgy thigh, but he’s come alive these past 10 minutes or so. His team-mates are feeding off that and growing in belief that they can win this. So much for me saying it’s hard to see France losing this (about 15 mins ago...).

06:43 PM BST

This is interesting...

Lewandowski signalled almost immediately to suggest Maignan had moved off his line prematurely. The referee agreed and a retake was ordered. Maignan’s attempts to psych out Lewandowski a second time didn’t work. Oooh this has just got interesting. Fofana is now on for France

06:42 PM BST

73 mins: France 1 Poland 1

It’s all Poland now. Since Mbappe’s goal France have just let their foot off the gas and invited Poland onto them. They don’t need a second invite and as I type that Lewandowski fires a left-footed shot just wide.

This is very much squeaky-bum time for the French who have lost all rhythm.

06:39 PM BST


France 1 Poland 1

This time Lewandowski makes no mistake, going the same way and finding the far-left corner of the on...

Second-time lucky for Lewandowski
Second-time lucky for Lewandowski - Getty Images/Matt McNulty

06:38 PM BST

SAVED PENALTY - but hang on!

Had he scored then Lewandowki would have been the third man to score at four Euros, but Maignan saves to his right!

HANG ON - the Pole says the keeper went too early AND VAR AGREES!

It will be taken again...

06:36 PM BST


Possible penalty for Poland. Swiderski falls under the challenge of Upamecano. Play is waved on and France immediately go up to the other end of the pitch and Mbappe nearly scores - his shot straight at Skorupski.

VAR then makes it’s presence felt and it’s give after the ref looks at the monitor.

06:34 PM BST

73 mins: France 1 Poland 0

France look threatening right up until they get near the box, if that makes sense...the have pace to burn on the flanks but once they’re in and around the box they lack cutting edge.

06:32 PM BST

71 mins: France 1 Poland 0

If there is a fear it begins with L and ends in i (Lewandowski...). The Polish great picks up the ball 30 yards out before firing a low shot that just goes wide. Yet another warning sign for the French who could well do with another goal to ease a few nerves...

06:30 PM BST

69 mins: France 1 Poland 0

France have pace on both flanks and they’ve got in behind the Poles at regular intervals. Which makes the fact they’re yet to score from open play even more baffling. Once again Hernandez, on the left, gets to the byline and cuts a ball back into the box. But once again no France man can get on the end of it.

06:28 PM BST

68 mins: France 1 Poland 0

It’s been all France this half, and even if they don’t score another the the worry over the attack persists, it’s hard to see them losing from here, so they’ll finish in the top two at the very least.

06:26 PM BST

65 mins: France 1 Poland 0

Griezmann shoots from distance when Mbappe was looking for the ball, the shot is limp and deflected wide and he apologises to his skipper. BUT France look so much better when Griezmann is playing in that hole behind the forwards.

06:24 PM BST

Mbappe’s penalty - a triptych


06:22 PM BST

61 mins: France 1 Poland 0

Triple change for France. Camavinga, Giroud and Griezmann on, Kante, Barcola and Rabiot off.

Rapturous reception for the arrival of Olivier Giroud, part of a triple France substitution by Deschamps. France’s all time top scorer with 57 goals being showered with love here.

06:20 PM BST

59 mins: France 1 Poland 0

Austria have taken the lead again over the Netherlands, you can follow that here.

06:17 PM BST


France 1 Poland 0 

Mbappe is the man, he looks so confident and goes right, sending the impressive goalkeeper Skorupski the wrong way. The Masked Man takes off his mask and and the whole of the France bench celebrates - a bit of relief in that you suspect...

06:15 PM BST


Dembele is as direct as they come down the right (just what France needed) having been worked in well by the midfield. He’s drives into the box and Kiwior loses his head by going to ground and bringing the Frenchman down.

Clear penalty and no arguing from the Poles.

06:14 PM BST

53 mins: France 0 Poland 0

If there is a bright spot for the French (while they struggle to find the back of the net) it’s that Poland haven’t got going since the break.

06:12 PM BST

51 mins: France 0 Poland 0

If this continues you think Deschamps will make a change sooner rather than’s only really at the top of the pitch where they are struggling...the midfield is covering a lot of ground and the defence is yet to concede. Perhaps time for one or both of Griezmann and Giroud?

06:10 PM BST

48 mins: France 0 Poland 0

France are once again in the final third, it comes to Mbappe who opens up his body and shoots for the far corner. But Skorupski once again saves well, he’s having a stormer and is singlehandedly keeping the French at bay.

06:08 PM BST

48 mins: France 0 Poland 0

Corner for France: their seventh and they are yet to really threaten from one. This time is no different as Poland head the danger away.

06:06 PM BST

47 mins: France 0 Poland 0

There’s been an equaliser in Berlin - you can follow that game here.

06:05 PM BST

45 mins: France 0 Poland 0

They’re back under way in Dortmund, can France find another gear and score a goal? We’re about to find out.

05:55 PM BST

France still not clinical in front of goal

France stepped it up in the final 10 minutes of the half and Poland needed their goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski at his best. It’s doubtful they’ll be able to withstand that sort of pressure in the second period and shut out France but Didier Deschamps’ side are going to have to be more ruthless in front of goal. The masked man Mbappe has fashioned a couple of inviting chances but it’s now 225 minutes without a goal from a France player at this tournament. Their goal against Austria, you’ll remember, was an own goal from Max Wober.

05:51 PM BST

HALF-TIME: France 0 Poland 0

France haven’t hit top gear this tournament (and are yet to score a goal (winner against Austria was an OG...)) and they were a bit stop-start in the first 35 minutes. The favourites upped the ante in the last 10 minutes and for all the criticism of the French it says a lot that Poland’s best player was their new goalkeeper Skorupski.

You sense if France get one, they’ll go on and get a couple.

05:47 PM BST

44 mins: France 0 Poland 0

Yet another chance for France, who have gone up a gear these past 10 minutes, there’s a lovely backheel on the edge of the area that sets Mbappe free. The Masked Captain opens up his body and aims the side-footed shot to the far corner, but Skorupski once again rushes off his line to make a another fine save. He’s had a good first 45 mins.

05:46 PM BST

43 mins: France 0 Poland 0

The French full-backs are getting higher up the pitch now and that’s creating opportunities, this time Hernandez gets to the byline and once again no one is there to get on the end of the low cross.

05:44 PM BST

41 mins: France 0 Poland 0

Mbappe is coming to the fore a bit more now, France are again in the Poland box and, as tends to do, he turns on the afterburners before taking the ball off a team-mate and firing delicately just wide of the right post. Better from France these past few minutes.

05:43 PM BST

39 mins: France 0 Poland 0

France and Mbappe are passing the ball around well but in the final third it’s all bit bitty. Mbappe then takes the bull by the horns on the edge of the area, plays a one-two before falling over. Any penalty appeal is muted at best and the ref, correctly, waves play on.

05:39 PM BST

37 mins: France 0 Poland 0

Better from France Dembele and Kante work it nicely from the right setting up Tchouameni whose shot from outside the box is deflected wide for a corner.

From the resulting set piece Saliba hooks a shot just over the bar.

05:37 PM BST

35 mins: France 0 Poland 0

It’s just not clicking for the French at the moment. There’s no need to panic, however, plenty of road left to run and they know a draw will end them through in the top two.

05:36 PM BST

France know they’re in a battle

Dayot Upamecano  and Kacper Urbanski challenge each other for the ball
Dayot Upamecano and Kacper Urbanski challenge each other for the ball - Shutterstock /Georgi Licovski

05:35 PM BST

32 mins: France 0 Poland 0

Poland are growing in confidence - Lewandowski is always giving them options every time they’re on the ball, they’re passing it well, and the warning signs are there...

And as if by magic, no sooner had I written that than another peach of a cross from the left is delivered and Lewandowski heads just wide...what was I saying about warning signs?

05:32 PM BST

29 mins: France 0 Poland 0

France yet to find their rhythm, it’s all a bit stop-start from them so, which sums up their tournament, as well.

Moder, the Brighton man, nearly finds Lewandowski lurking on the edge of the France box. It’s clear that’s what Poland are looking to do at every opportunity.

During the drinks break, Mbappe removed his mask and gave it a good wipe with a white towel before slipping it back on when play resumed. It’s a very hot day in Dortmund and it can’t be particularly comfortable. One of Deschamps’ staff was straight over to Mbappe at the drinks break and seemed to be asking how the mask felt. Another flung a cold towel around his neck. Deschamps also took the opportunity to have a chat with his captain

Mbappe cleans his protective mask in a hot Dortmund
Mbappe cleans his protective mask in a hot Dortmund - Getty Images/Ralf Ibing

05:29 PM BST

Zalewski walking a tightrope

Nicola Zalewski is going to need to be very careful now after being booked for pulling back Mbappe and stopping a France breakaway. Dembele has had the beating of the Poland left wing back and he’s one mistimed challenge away from an early bath now.

05:27 PM BST

24 mins: France 0 Poland 0

Corner for France, can they create something from this? ‘Non’ is the answer. The ball comes in from the left and Skorupski comes and claims well. He has started well today.

Just before that Mbappe was away and cynically pulled back by Nicola Zalewski, who sees yellow for his trouble. So far there have been no signs that the broken nose is affecting the France captain.

05:25 PM BST

21 mins: France 0 Poland 0

Zalewski attacks down the left for Poland and delivers a fine cross that only just evades the head of Lewandowski. Warning signs for France that the Poles aren’t here on a jolly, they’ve come to play and in Lewandowski have someone who can make then pay.

05:24 PM BST

21 mins: France 0 Poland 0

France look good on the counter, twice in the past eight or so minutes they’ve countered at pace and with purpose.

05:23 PM BST

The man in the mask

Mbappe has had a good start on his return from a broken nose
Mbappe has had a good start on his return from a broken nose - AFP/Alberto Pizzoli

05:21 PM BST

19 mins: France 0 Poland 0

Zalewski is robbed of possession in the middle, Kante is the pick-pocket and he drives forward into the Poland half. There’s an overlap which the former Chelsea and Leicester man uses well, drawing the defender before laying off to Dembele, he hits it from six yards out, but Skorupski comes and and smothers the shot well. He’s made two decent saves so far, an early confidence booster.

05:19 PM BST

18 mins: France 0 Poland 0

Poland seeing more of the ball now, they’re playing with confidence and building up play patiently.

05:16 PM BST

15 mins: France 0 Poland 0

First shot on goal for Poland comes from a corner, the first-time shot from Urbanski is well saved by Maignan.

05:15 PM BST

13 mins: France 0 Poland 0

Lovely move from France with Mbappe to the fore. Kante drives from his own half into Poland’s. He plays a one-two with Mbappe, the captain turning on a six-pence before laying it off to his team-mate. Kante’s touch, however, lets him down and the chance to put Skorupski, in the Poland goal, under pressure goes begging.

05:13 PM BST

10 mins: France 0 Poland 0

First real chance of the match goes the way of France. They attack down the right and get numbers in the box. Dembele delivers a low cross that just evades Barcola but finds Hernandez at the back post, his first-time left-footed shot well saved by Skorupski with his feet.

05:10 PM BST

8 mins: France 0 Poland 0

News from the other Group D game: Austria are 1-0 up against the Netherlands. You can follow that match with my friend and yours, Dan Zeqiri here.

05:08 PM BST

6 mins: France 0 Poland 0

Poland with their first bit of possession. The French are yet to concede and, well-organised, they snuff out any hint of danger...

Match yet to really get going...

05:06 PM BST

3 mins: France 0 Poland 0

All the play has been in the Poland half, no chances created just yet. But confident start from the favourites nonetheless...

As I typed that Barcola, who has had a bright start, uses his pace on the left to get to the byline and cross. He wins a corner, the delivery of which is pretty hideous. France get a second bite of the cherry as the ref wasn’t ready and second time around the ball is much better, curling into the back post. No one, however, was there to attack it.

05:03 PM BST

2 mins: France 0 Poland 0

France with the early possession and Mbappe sees the ball, he drives forward a few yards before backheeling it. The move ultimately peters out.

05:00 PM BST

1 min: France 0 Poland 0

They’re under way in Dortmund, one of the great footballing arenas. France are in their great blue kit and Poland in their traditional red. Love a blue-red combo...

Dortmund became Little Istanbul for Turkey’s two games here but it’s been more sedate in the Ruhr today. The atmosphere is building now in the stadium with France about to kick off against Poland but it’s not Turkey-Georgia or Turkey-Portugal. It probably doesn’t help that Poland were the first side to be knocked out of the tournament but there’s still plenty for France to play for here. They’re guaranteed third no matter what happens but Didier Deschamps and his players will want top spot and to avoid that half of the knockout stage draw with Germany, Spain and Portugal in it.

04:58 PM BST

National anthem time

Poland’s national tune first, sung with gusto, but, I’ll be honest, not one of my faves, neither operatic nor overly rousing...France’s La Marseillaise then blares out. It is one of the great national anthems and this time it’s sung with full voice by the French fans. Going on the singing, it’s early advantage to France.

04:53 PM BST

The teams are in the tunnel

And we’re moments away from kick-off. Alan Shearer says ‘this is the match where [I think] France get going’. We’re about to find out.

04:48 PM BST

While we’re talking about fans...

Here’s how we’ve ranked the supporting casts out in agree?

READ: Euro 2024 fans: Ranking all 24 sets of supporters in Germany from worst to best

04:47 PM BST

Fans are ready for kick-off

A France fan doubtless feeling the heat in his Gallic rooster costume - each to their own...
A France fan doubtless feeling the heat in his Gallic rooster costume - each to their own... - Getty Images/Hesham Elsherif
Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble
Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble have time travelled a few centuries to make it to Dortmund today - Getty Images/Christopher Lee
France fan
No prizes for guessing who this man is supporting... - Getty Images/Ralf Ibing

04:38 PM BST

This match is on BBC 1

And, before focusing on the French and Polish, Gary Lineker and Co are, once again, talking about the ‘Harry Kane spat’ as I’m calling it. It’s all rather polite (no use of the word ‘s--t’ for example...) and we get to hear Kane’s response to the criticism. Shearer does say the attack has been poor, and you cannot really argue against that.

04:30 PM BST

No rest for defenders until the final whistle

04:28 PM BST

Mbappe is warming up sans mask

I assume the mask will well and truly be on for the match - PA/Nick Potts

04:26 PM BST

Mbappe boost for France

Against the Netherlands France had their chances. But in the final third they lacked cutting edge, Griezmann (dropped to the bench today) guilty of missing more than most. The return of their main attacking threat will doubtless add some confidence to the attack and offers an insight into how Les Bleus might approach the match (no caution and playing for a draw).

“He is doing better today than yesterday and the day before that. That is obvious because he has been training,” said Deschamps said on Monday. “The bruising has come down and he is getting used to the mask. He is as eager to play tomorrow as he was eager to play against the Netherlands.

“He does not find that the mask limits him but it does restrict his vision a little. He needs to get used to it, even though the technology nowadays allows these masks to be as thin as possible.”

Kylian Mbappe wearing his mask
Mbappe starts for France today, just over a week after breaking his nose against Austria - AFP/Franck Fife

04:11 PM BST

Team news - Mbappe starts for France

FRANCE XI TO FACE POLAND: Maignan, Kounde, Upamecano, Saliba, Hernandez, Tchouameni, Kante, Rabiot, Dembele, Barcola, Mbappe; Subs: Areola, Thuram, Camavinga, Clauss, Coman, Fofana, Giroud, Kolo Muani, Konate, Mendy, Pavard, Samba, Zaire-Emery, Griezmann

The big news is that France captain Kylian Mbappe is back in the starting XI after sitting out the draw with the Netherlands with a broken nose. That’s a huge boost for the French who looked fairly limp in attack against the Dutch. Antoine Griezmann drops to the bench with Bradley Barcola coming into the side.

POLAND XI TO FACE FRANCE: Skorupski, Kiwior, Dawidowicz, Bednarek, Zalewski, Moder, Zielinski, Frankowski, S. Szymanski, Lewandowski, Urbanski; Subs: Bereszynski, Bulka, Grosicki, Piątek, Piotrowski, Puchacz, Romanczuk, Salamon, Skoras, Szymanski, Walukiewicz, Swiderski, Buksa, Slisz

The big news for Poland (and anyone who loves great strikers of the 2000s) is that Robert Lewandowski comes into the starting XI. The all-time great only made it onto the pitch on the hour mark in the defeat to Austria after having missed the opening defeat to the Netherland with injury.

03:57 PM BST

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03:54 PM BST

Get your crystal ball out... your inner Nostradamus and predict what you think the score will be.

03:42 PM BST

Group D permutations

  • The Netherlands will finish in the top two if they do not lose to Austria. They can top the group if they win and France fail to beat Poland. They can also win the group with a draw if France lose to Poland.

  • France will qualify in the top two if they avoid defeat. If France and the Dutch have the same result, they will be split on goal difference etc.

  • A win for Austria over the Dutch will give them a top two finish in the group. Austria can top the group if they win and France do not.

  • Poland are already eliminated and cannot reach the last 16.

03:36 PM BST

Kylian Mbappe is ‘raring to go’

Another match of contrasting emotions and possibilities. France can guarantee a top-two finish by avoiding defeat, so they’re not exactly heading into the match on edge, rather somewhat relaxed (in so far as you can be relaxed in such a situation...). For Poland all hope is lost, they’ve already been eliminated. So can they play with abandon and freedom, attack the French and throw a grenade at their hopes of progressing further?

That’s the basic conundrum ahead of this Group D clash and one that could well affect how the French approach it. Play with caution and allow a possible free-wheeling Poland the chance to press and attack them, or go for the win and and allow a possible free-wheeling Poland space at the back to wreak havoc?

One thing that would help the French, regardless of the approach they adopt, is the return of Kylian Mbappe. Their main man and captain sustained a broken nose in their opening win over Austria last Monday, but has made good progress since and it’s not beyond the realms of possibility he could appear at some point today.

Didier Deschamps, however, was keeping schtum on whether Mbappe will appear before the knockout stages.

“It’s getting better every day,” the manager said at his pre-match press conference on Monday. “He wants to play tomorrow, he’s raring to go. He wanted to play against the Netherlands and he wants to play tomorrow.

“The mask is not restrictive but it limits your vision a little. The technology has improved and it allows us to have the thinnest masks possible. You have to get used to it.”

France start as strong favourites to beat a Polish side beaten by both the Netherlands and Austria, but Deschamps is taking nothing for granted.

“We will see if they will have the same players, but I know the Polish team will be very motivated, and very dangerous from set-plays,” he warned.

Stay here for all the team news, pre-match build-up and action, with kick-off set for 5pm.