The Citizen (KZN)

Mbappe fires a clear warning


- Marseille

France captain Kylian Mbappe said his team’s friendly loss to Germany at the weekend should serve as a warning going into Euro 2024, for which Les Bleus are one of the leading contenders.

“We need to be aware that if we play like that in the big matches that lie ahead of us, we are setting ourselves up for major disappoint­ment,” Mbappe said this week, following Saturday’s 2-0 defeat against the European Championsh­ip hosts in Lyon.

Germany took the lead through a Florian Wirtz strike after just eight seconds, with Kai Havertz scoring their second goal shortly after half-time.

It was just France’s second defeat since they lost the 2022 World Cup final on penalties to Argentina in Qatar – the other was a 2-1 reverse in a friendly away to Germany last September.

“Now that game is over with and our objective is to show a reaction. We need to be aware that we didn’t play well enough,” added Mbappe, who was speaking in Marseille.

Les Bleus have reached three finals out of the last four major tournament­s, European Championsh­ips and World Cups combined.

They also won the Uefa Nations League in 2021, and are being tipped as the favourites for the Euro alongside a strong England side.

Paris Saint-Germain star Mbappe was keen to point out that France won just once in their six games leading into the last World Cup, before going on to reach the final of that competitio­n.

In contrast they came into the last Euro in 2021 in excellent form, only to go out in the last-16 on penalties to Switzerlan­d.

“There have been tournament­s where in the matches we have played beforehand where we have taken beatings but then have played well in the competitio­ns themselves.

“There have also been competitio­ns where we won the friendly games in the build-up but then ended up being knocked out and going home early,” said Mbappe, who won his 76th cap against Germany aged just 25.

“The friendly matches give indication­s but not the whole truth. The proof of that is that we have lost twice to the Germans in friendly games but I have never lost to them in a competitiv­e match.”

France are grouped with the Netherland­s and Austria at the Euros (14 June-14 July). –

 ?? ?? KYLIAN MBAPPE Picture: Getty Images
KYLIAN MBAPPE Picture: Getty Images

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