Kylian Mbappé on France exit: My Euro 2024 was a ‘failure’

MUNICH, Germany — Kylian Mbappé conceded his Euro 2024 campaign had been a failure after France were eliminated on Tuesday, losing 2-1 in the semifinal to Spain at the Allianz Arena.

Mbappé set up Randal Kolo Muani to give France an early lead in Munich, but Spain responded through strikes from Lamine Yamal and Dani Olmo to set up a final against either England or the Netherlands in Berlin on Sunday.

The Real Madrid forward’s tournament ended with just one goal, a penalty against Poland in the group phase, in five appearances.

“My competition? It was difficult,” Mbappé told reporters. “It was a failure. We had the ambition to be European champions; I had the ambition to be European Champion. We aren’t that, so it’s a failure.

“It’s football. We have to move on. It’s been a long year. I’m going to go on holiday and get some rest — that’ll do me a lot of good and I’ll try and come back strongly.”

Mbappé’s tournament began in the worst possible way when he broke his nose in France’s opening game against Austria.

That forced him to miss the stalemate with the Netherlands, but he returned wearing a mask against Poland, Belgium and Portugal, although due to feeling uncomfortable with the face wear, he ditched it against Spain.

“Wearing a mask was not easy for him, it restricted his vision and was an inconvenience,” France coach Didier Deschamps explained in a news conference after the loss.

“There was a medical consultation with the staff and Kylian felt more at ease without the mask.”

Without Mbappé on song, France struggled to fire at Euro 2024. Kolo Muani’s opener against Spain was the first goal scored by a French player from open play at the tournament after two own goals and a penalty.

As well as Mbappé, Antoine Griezmann has also been criticised, with the Atlético Madrid forward dropped from the starting lineup against Spain.

“I am not going to pass on the responsibility, I am in charge and I am responsible,” Deschamps said when asked about the performances of Mbappé and Griezmann.

“We were facing a Spain side with such quality. Even though Antoine didn’t start, Kylian did and we tried to do our best with what we had. And we tried to be as efficient as possible.

“It was great because we took the lead, but this Spanish side masters the game so well. We didn’t perform so well in the end. We didn’t manage to play as vertically as I would have wished.

“We did push until the end. I will not say that my players did not give their all. But they did not all play at 100% of their capacity in this Euros for several reasons.”

Deschamps, who took over France in 2012 and has taken them to two World Cup finals — winning one — and a European Championship final, has two years to run on his contract and is expected to lead Les Bleus into the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Olivier Giroud, though, has seemingly played his last match for his country, having previously declared his intention to retire from international football following the Euros.

The striker, who left AC Milan for Los Angeles FC earlier this summer, came on for the final minutes against Spain but was unable to add to his impressive tally of 57 goals in 137 appearances.

“He is disappointed like all the players,” Deschamps said of Giroud, who will turn 38 in September and made his international debut in 2011.

“Olivier was here from the beginning [of my time] and he’s the last one from first match we had. There have been some difficult periods, periods where he has not been as efficient. But he is an example of longevity, seriousness and professionalism.

“He has had less playing time this Euros compared to initial discussions, but he is a leader in this group even if he is not always on pitch. It would have been better to finish on Sunday, but we want to say to him well done and thank you.”