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France 1-1 Poland: Mbappe scores but Les Bleus held

The France captain was on the scoresheet as France beat Poland in Dortmund

Kylian Mbappe

Kylian Mbappe made a goalscoring return but it was not enough for France to beat Poland and clinch top spot in Group D at Euro 2024.

The France captain donned a protective face mask after breaking his nose against Austria eight days ago but it didn’t hinder him as displayed all his trademark pace and power in the blazing sunshine in Dortmund.

Indeed, had it not been for a fine performance from Poland goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski then Mbappe would have been celebrating long before his 56th-minute penalty opened the scoring.

But French dominance made way for uncertainty and nervousness as the game wore on and already-eliminated Poland took full advantage. Dayot Upamecano fouled substitute Karol Swiderski inside the area and Robert Lewandowski marked his first start of the tournament with the equaliser from a twice-taken penalty.

It was no more than Poland deserved and the stalemate will lead to more questions of Didier Deschamps’ side who continue to lack fluency.

Les Bleus finish second in the group, behind surprise package Austria, who beat the Netherlands in Berlin. France will take on the runners-up in Group E on Monday in the round of 16.

Poland boss early exchanges

Poland held their own in the opening half hour with Piotr Zielinski again looking their most creative player.

The Inter new boy had the first chance with a low drive that drew a smart save from Mike Maignan.

Theo Hernandez came close at the other end before Maignan had to be alert again after 14 minutes when Kacper Urbanski reacted quickest to fire a shot on goal from a left-wing corner.

Zielinski then provided Lewandowski with Poland’s clearest chance of the first half, his teasing cross from the left picking out the Barcelona striker but his tame header clipped the heels of William Saliba before going wide.

By that point, Skorupski had already made a great save to deny Ousmane Dembele and the half finished with an intriguing personal battle between the Bologna goalkeeper and Mbappe.

Twice the France captain got in down the left channel – both times after neat interplay with Bradley Barcola – but twice he was denied as Skorupski spread himself well.

The duel continued after the break with Skorupski saving an Mbappe curler before the 25-year-old drilled wide from the edge of the box.

Poland’s earlier threat had dissipated and France were starting to boss the game in midfield. 

Dembele paves the way for Mbappe opener

It was therefore no surprise when another French raid resulted in the opening goal. Arsenal full-back Jakub Kiwior brought down Dembele with a clumsy challenge on the right side of the area and Mbappe made no mistake from the spot, sending Skorupski the wrong way and slotting the ball into the bottom right-hand corner.

Having worked so hard to make the breakthrough, France relinquished their supremacy and allowed Poland a route back into the game.

And with 13 minutes to go, Michal Probierz’s men were rewarded as Upamecano’s challenge handed Lewandowski the chance to score on a ground he knows so well following four goal-laden seasons with Borussia Dortmund.

His first effort was saved but VAR forced a re-take due to Maignan encroaching off his line. Lewandowski went to the bottom left-hand corner again and this time made no mistake.

Poland survived a late scare when Mbappe appeared to be fouled on the edge of the box but referee Marco Guida of Italy waved play on.

Picture of Jon Fisher

Jon Fisher

Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.