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22 Jul 2024 2:25
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Soccer

    Euro 2024 five quick hits: Kylian Mbappé sits it out, Netherlands blame officials as goal ruled out, late winner keeps Ukraine hopes alive

    French superstar Kylian Mbappé sits it out, the Dutch are left frustrated by VAR and Ukrainians keep hopes alive. Here are five quick hits from overnight at the Euros.

    French superstar Kylian Mbappé sits out a vital match, Netherlands left frustrated by VAR and Ukraine keep their hopes alive, while the first team is eliminated from the tournament.

    Here are five quick hits from overnight at the Euros.

    Mbappe left a spectator as France take no chances

    Kylian Mbappé watched from the substitutes' bench as France and the Netherlands came together in Leipzig for their heavyweight clash at the European Championship.

    Mbappé hadn't been certain to start after breaking his nose on Monday in the opening 1-0 win over Austria.

    The star forward trained wearing a face mask on Thursday and coach Didier Deschamps sounded optimistic that his star forward would be able to play. But Deschamps evidently decided it was not worth the risk to start him against the physical Dutch defenders.

    He emerged before Friday's game wearing a plain black face mask for the team's warm-up, and sat on a football initially while the rest of his teammates stretched out.

    He was coaxed off the ball by a coach, then spent some time adjusting the mask and tapping it, as if to test its suitability, before he joined the substitutes in kicking a ball around.

    But as the game wore on without a score, the French superstar appeared a little less relaxed, and he could be seen urging his teammates on late in proceedings. It was all to no avail, as no one broke the deadlock.

    Now the question is whether coach Deschamps risks Mbappé on Tuesday night when the French face Poland in Dortmund in their final group game. The French are close to making the knockout stages, likely to earn a best-third-place spot even if they lose. But could the superstar sit out again?

    We'll find out next week.

    Dutch coach Koeman says referee got it wrong as goal ruled out

    Dutch coach Ronald Koeman has had a crack at the officials after France and the Netherlands played out a 0-0 draw in Group D at Euro 2024 that left them within sight of a place in the last 16.

    The game sparked into life in fits and starts, without ever threatening to turn into a classic, but Koeman and his team were frustrated by the key moment of the match in the second half.

    [Netherlands France summary]

    Fans of the Oranje were sent into orbit in the 69th minute, when Netherlands' Xavi Simons had the ball in the net. The goal was ruled out after a very late flag from the linesman, but then a lengthy delay ensued as VAR checked the decision.

    Referee Anthony Taylor spoke to both team captains as the crowd's frustration mounted, but eventually the goal — disallowed because Denzel Dumfries was standing offside next to keeper Mike Maignan — was confirmed as ruled out.

    Dutch coach Koeman said he had looked at images of the incident afterwards and strongly disagreed with English referee Taylor.

    "The position of Dumfries is offside, that's true. But he isn't disturbing the goalkeeper. And when that does not happen then it's a legal goal in my opinion," the Dutch coach told a post-match press conference.

    "Did they need 5 minutes to check it because it's so difficult? I don't understand this. He's not disturbing the goalkeeper," added Koeman.

    The first half was at times frenetic, with the Dutch going close within the first minute as Jeremie Frimpong's effort was tipped around the post by Maignan before Antoine Griezmann had an early shot palmed over at the other end.

    France should have taken the lead minutes later when Adrien Rabiot was played through on goal but inexplicably chose to pass to Griezmann, who was so stunned by his generosity that he miscontrolled, stumbled and lost possession.

    Griezmann fired another chance wide before heading straight at keeper Bart Verbruggen from a Rabiot cross.

    The result leaves the group open, although with four points in the bag, both France and the Netherlands will think they have most likely done enough to reach the last 16.

    France next face Poland, who have no points after losing 3-1 to Austria earlier on Friday, while the Netherlands meet the Austrians, who have three points, also on Tuesday.

    Ukraine alive and kicking as Yaremchuk grabs late winner

    Ukraine looked like they could be headed home, before salvaging their Euro 2024 hopes as substitute Roman Yaremchuk's late strike saw them hit back after falling a goal behind to beat Slovakia 2–1 in a lively Group E contest.

    Trailing at half-time to an early header by Ivan Schranz, Ukraine's hopes of reaching the knockout stage were in peril, but they stormed back in front of their joyous fans.

    [Slovakia Ukraine summary]

    Slovakia, who produced the shock of the tournament so far to beat Belgium in their opener, would have sealed a last-16 berth with a win but sat back after a dream start and were punished.

    Man of the match Mykola Shaparenko equalised in the 54th minute with a close-range finish before his pass sent Yaremchuk clear to prod the winner and spark ecstatic celebrations from the ranks of yellow and blue inside the Düsseldorf Stadium.

    The win was celebrated in Kyiv too, not least by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who praised the team in his nightly video address in the war-torn country.

    "Today we are grateful to our national team. Every time our boys press, keep trying and strive for victory, everything works out," Zelenskyy said.

    "On our road to victory, every victory is needed. And we got just such a result from our national team today."

    The result moved Ukraine level on three points with Slovakia and Romania, who face Belgium on Saturday.

    "Today we conceded a goal and reacted very well," former Ukraine striker Rebrov, who made five changes to the side that started the 3-0 drubbing by Romania, said.

    "I can't say this was a different team but it was a different spirit. The spirit of Ukraine. Today this was a very important win for Ukraine, for our country."

    Austria bounce back as Poland first team eliminated at Euro 2024

    A superb second-half performance boosted Austria's hopes of making the Euro 2024 knockout stage with a 3-1 win over Poland, who became the first side to be eliminated from the tournament after Friday's late game between Netherlands and France ended in a goalless draw.

    Poland's chances of progressing from Group D already looked bleak before the draw between France and the Netherlands confirmed their early exit.

    [Poland Austria summary]

    Goals from Gernot Trauner, Christoph Baumgartner and Marko Arnautovic kept alive Austria's chances of reaching the next round.

    The Austrians, who lost to France in their opener, survived a spirited first-half comeback in which Poland equalised and came close to taking the lead before the wheels came off in the second half.

    Undeterred by news that record scorer Robert Lewandowski was still not fit to start, Polish fans lit a handful of flares as they belted out the national anthem, with a cloud of smoke wafting towards the goal Austria defended in the first half.

    That was about as close as the Poles got in the opening exchanges, with Austria dominating possession through repeated attacks up the left flank and going ahead in the ninth minute through a bullet header from Trauner.

    Poland levelled on the half-hour mark as Austria failed to clear a corner satisfactorily and when Trauner blocked a shot from Jan Bednarek, the ball fell kindly for Krzysztof Piatek to control and then steer into the net.

    When Lewandowski finally entered the fray on the hour Polish hopes rose, only to be quickly dashed.

    Austria's second goal in the 66th was beautiful in its simplicity as they switched play from right to left before Alexander Prass picked out Baumgartner with a pinpoint pass and the midfielder's cool finish gave Wojciech Szczesny no chance.

    When Marcel Sabitzer then tore through the middle, Szczesny had no choice to bring him down and Marko Arnautovic drilled the resulting spot kick low to the keeper's left to make it 3-1 after 78 minutes and leave the Poles with a mountain to climb.

    All eyes on Frankfurt after pitch problems for England-Denmark

    UEFA has said it was working on "specific issues" to improve the quality of the pitch in Frankfurt after the field cut up badly during the England–Denmark game on Thursday.

    Frankfurt has had steady rain all week and having the option to close the stadium roof has protected the field that was used all season by host club Eintracht Frankfurt.

    But chunks of turf were kicked up during England's 1–1 draw with Denmark and several players slipped on the greasy grass in humid conditions on a 23-degree Celsius day.

    "A detailed maintenance plan is in place to address specific issues and further improve quality ahead of the upcoming fixtures at the venue," UEFA said in a statement.

    Germany plays Switzerland in the stadium on Sunday, then there's Slovakia-Romania on Wednesday, and a round-of-16 game on July 1 for the Group F winner, which could be Portugal.

    UEFA has replacement fields ready to bring in when needed. The playing surface at Switzerland's training stadium was re-laid this week after a formal complaint.

    [EURO 2024 standings]



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