France lack firepower without Mbappé, held by Netherlands

Kylian Mbappé watched from the sidelines as France squandered numerous chances in a 0-0 draw against the Netherlands at Euro 2024 on Friday.

Mbappé's absence, who broke his nose in the victory over Austria last Monday, seemed to blunt France's attack, leading coach Didier Deschamps to acknowledge a lack of 'efficiency.'

"My only regret is that we didn't have enough efficiency," Deschamps said. "We had several good opportunities but couldn't find the net. Without goals, we can't secure wins."

Mbappé trained with a mask on Thursday, raising hopes of his participation. However, Deschamps opted for caution, unwilling to risk his star player in the second group stage match.

"I didn't bluff [in his press conference Thursday about Mbappé's status]. He is better. Everyday that passes is a day won. If tonight had been a decisive game, I would have maybe thought about it differently," Deschamps said.

"But it's important for me to think about how he feels. He took a nasty blow, and he's going to have to wear a mask. It may change his vision too, but that is also the risk he will take.

Antoine Griezmann, donning the captain's armband in Mbappé's absence and leading an attacking trio alongside Ousmane Dembélé and Marcus Thuram, missed France's best chances.

"I had a couple of opportunities that didn't go my way," admitted Griezmann. "Defensively we were sound, but the goals just weren't there. We need to stay calm, the goals will come."

Real Madrid's Aurélien Tchouaméni stepped up to fill the void left by Mbappé's absence in the lineup. He nearly made the most of the opportunity, coming close to scoring with a well-directed header that went just over the crossbar.

"We faltered in the final moments, be it the final pass or shot," Tchouaméni admitted. "We need to improve to win these matches. We created chances, so victory was within reach. Now we need to focus on rectifying our mistakes. The top priority is qualification and winning the group."

The draw leaves both France and Netherlands on four points after two matches. Poland's earlier 3-1 defeat to Austria confirms their elimination, regardless of the result in their final group game against France.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report