France 1-1 Poland: Mbappe ends Euros drought but Lewandowski thwarts Les Bleus

By Sports Desk June 25, 2024

Kylian Mbappe's first goal at the European Championships was in vain as France were held to a 1-1 draw with Poland in their final group game at Euro 2024.

Mbappe curled home from the penalty spot in the 56th minute, but Robert Lewandowski, in possibly his final Euros game, hit back for Poland.

Lewandowski's goal also came from 12 yards, with the Barcelona striker converting at the second attempt to earn Poland's only point of the tournament.

France have finished second in Group D after Austria's win over the Netherlands in the other match, with Poland's fate already set.

Playing for pride, Poland made a bright start to the game, with Piotr Zielinski's half-volley forcing Mike Maignan into a smart stop early on.

Lukasz Skorupski was alert when called upon at the other end as he stuck out a foot to keep Theo Hernandez's effort before smothering Ousmane Dembele's strike 10 minutes later.

Lewandowski, making his first start of the tournament, also came close but could only thump a powerful header wide of the near post.

Mbappe had two glorious chances to break the deadlock just before half-time – his first flashed across the face of goal with help from a fingertip stop from Skorupski, who then made himself big to deny France's captain.

The battle between Mbappe and the goalkeeper carried into the second half, as Skorupski got a strong hand to a curler.

Yet Jakub Kiwior's clumsy challenge gave France the opening they needed when he clumsily brought Dembele down inside the box, and Mbappe made no mistake this time, sending Skorupski the wrong way.

Lewandowski gave Les Bleus a scare shortly after, picking Jules Kounde's pocket before firing a pacy shot just wide of the near post.

And Poland's talisman stepped up when Dayot Upamecano brought down Karol Swiderski, and though Maignan initially saved the VAR-awarded penalty, he came off his line early, and Lewandowski picked out the bottom-left corner on the second attempt.

Mbappe finally on the scoresheet

It was yet another game where France created a lot of chances but struggled to finish them off, or at least, that is how it looked in the first half.

Mbappe finally ended his European Championships goal drought in the 56th minute, with what was his 23rd shot in the competition.

Indeed, that was Mbappe's 13th goal at major tournaments for France, equalling Just Fontaine's record, with only Michel Platini (14) scoring more for Les Bleus. 

Among European players since 2018, only Harry Kane (13) has scored as many goals as Mbappe, who France sorely missed in their goalless draw with the Netherlands last time out.

Meanwhile, Antoine Griezmann got his own slice of history as he made his 33rd appearance at major tournaments, the most by an outfield player for France, overtaking Lilian Thuram.

Poland make their point

It has been a tournament to forget for Poland, who exited Euro 2024 without earning a single win.

Talisman Lewandowski was back in the fold after his thigh injury and had the most shots for Poland, and ensured they did not go home empty-handed. 

The 35-year-old is the only player so far to have netted at the last four editions of the tournament, and is just the third player in history to score in four or more European Championships (along with Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modric).

He also salvaged some pride as Poland avoided losing all three group games at a major tournament for the first time in their history.

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