Skip to main content


Mbappe, Lewandowski trade penalties as France, Poland draw at UEFA Euro 2024


DORTMUND, Germany (AP) — Kylian Mbappé, wearing a mask to protect his broken nose, marked his return at the European Championship with a goal against Poland.

It wasn't enough for a victory on Tuesday, though, and it's not enough to solve France’s growing problems at Euro 2024.

Mbappé removed his protective mask to celebrate in front of his team’s fans after converting a 56th-minute penalty. But Robert Lewandowski earned the 1-1 draw with a 79th-minute spot kick that he got to take twice, leaving the French as the runners-up to Austria in Group D and dropping them into the same half of the draw with defending champion Portugal, host nation Germany and Spain — three of the continent’s heavyweight nations.

Austria beat the Netherlands 3-2 in a match played at the same time.

The result also means France has yet to score an open-play goal at Euro 2024, having beaten Austria 1-0 on an own-goal and then drawn 0-0 with the Dutch — when Mbappé was missing after breaking his nose against the Austrians.

Les Bleus have advanced, sure, but they haven’t been convincing.

“Obviously we wanted first place, but for that, we had to win,” France coach Didier Deschamps said. “We did what we had to do by creating chances to win. We could have done better in terms of efficiency."

Mbappé returned to the starting lineup against last-place Poland, which was already eliminated before the match began, and was clearly impaired by wearing a black mask that limits his peripheral vision.

He largely kept away from overly physical challenges and didn’t compete for the ball in the air. He was often seen hanging back at the edge of the area, waiting for the ball to come to him.

Still, Mbappé remained France’s most dangerous attacker and finally got his first goal in six matches at the tournament — taking in four at Euro 2020 and two at Euro 2024 — after Ousmane Dembele was tripped in the area. It was the Real Madrid-bound striker's 48th goal for France.

Mbappé played the full game, starting as a central striker before ending up on the left wing, in another underwhelming display from France — a two-time European champion and the World Cup runner-up in 2022.

A match against the runner-up in Group E, which could be Belgium, Romania, Slovakia or Ukraine, awaits in the last 16 on July 1.

Then it gets a whole lot harder for the French.

At least they got through, which cannot be said for Poland.

Making likely his last appearance at a European Championship, the 36-year-old Lewandowski departed with a goal — even if he needed two attempts to get past goalkeeper Mike Maignan with his stutter-step run-up.

Maignan saved the first kick but was adjudged to have come off his line before making the save.

Lewandowski had another opportunity, performed the same routine, and this time found the bottom corner for his 83rd international goal, even with Maignan diving the right way.

The same thing happened to Lewandowski against France at the World Cup, when Hugo Lloris was goalkeeper. Again, Lewandowski scored on the second attempt after Lloris encroached.


AP Euro 2024: