Monday, July 22, 2024

Mbappe left on bench as France, Netherlands share spoils


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Leipzig, June 22: Xavi Simons had a second-half goal controversially ruled out as the Netherlands and France played out the first goalless draw of Euro 2024.
The French started without Kylian Mbappe after he broke his nose in the win against Austria on Monday and they clearly missed their captain as they failed to take a number of chances.
But it will be the Netherlands who will feel most aggrieved at not claiming the three points after Simons’ strike was chalked off.
The 21-year-old’s drive from distance was disallowed by the on-field officials, led by referee Anthony Taylor, for an apparent obstruction on the goalkeeper by Denzel Dumfries, who was standing in an offside position.That prompted a lengthy check by the video assistant referee, who ultimately backed up the original decision.
It was harsh on the Dutch, but they could have been two or three goals down before then if Antoine Griezmann had not missed a number of big chances. He first missed a shot from close range in the first half after being set up by Adrien Rabiot, who perhaps should have shot himself. Griezmann then sent a decent chance wide before prodding a tame effort at Bart Verbruggen after good work by N’Golo Kante.
Wout Weghorst, who scored a late winner against Poland in the Netherlands’ first game, was again sent on in the closing stages but could not find the net this time.
The result means both sides are on four points in Group D, while Poland are eliminated.
Both these sides should progress to the knockouts despite failing to take three points on Friday night, but the result will nevertheless leave a bitter taste in the mouths of the Dutch.Many in the ground felt they had a perfectly good goal ruled out when Simons smashed a fine drive from just outside the box into the back of the net.It was disallowed almost immediately before VAR then intervened for what was the longest check of the tournament so far. (AP)


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