France coach Didier Deschamps is putting his faith in captain and leading striker Kylian Mbappe finding form in Tuesday’s European Championship semi-final against Spain despite struggling through the tournament.

Deschamps made it clear Mbappe will be playing in the match at the Munich Football Arena, despite coming off with fatigue in their quarter-final win over Portugal last Friday and also suffering a painful blow to his face in the game.

Mbappe’s broken nose, suffered at the start of Euro 2024, means he has to wear a mask but even with the protection he looked to struggle after a painful blow from a ball to the side of his face against Portugal, was not involved as much as he had been before and played without his usual confident swagger.

“He came off after 110 minutes, when it had already proven a tough game for him. There was no point in him staying on the pitch feeling tired,” Deschamps explained at Monday’s pre-match press conference.

“Since, we’ve done everything to ensure he recovers and I’m convinced he’s fully ready to play from the start.”

Deschamps said the loss of form from Mbappe, whose lone goal at the tournament was a penalty against Poland in the group stage, was understandable given several setbacks in the last weeks.

“It’s not just linked to the last match, but everything he had to deal with before, with a back problem at the end of the league season, the trauma he had (to his nose). He could have been forced out of the tournament.

“He’s had to get over all of this, get used to the new conditions but I know he will do everything to be as effective as possible,” the coach said.

“It’s something new for him and the fact of wearing a mask leads to having modified vision. Breaking his nose was a big shock, he needed time to digest it, but with each passing day the bruising has gone down.”

Deschamps will be more concerned about the threat of Spain, and their two attacking threats – Lamine Yamal and Nico Williams.

“These two players, even if they do not have the same qualities, offer Spain an additional quality in comparison to the teams we’ve faced because they’ve got verticality with these two players who are able to play up and down the pitch a lot more.

“All the Spanish team have this ability to have great control of the ball. The midfield is a strength, with Rodri in particular. It is the team which has controlled their matches the best and left the best impression on everyone,” he added.

-Reuters

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