EURO: FRANCE FALL FROM GLORY

 EURO: FRANCE FALL FROM GLORY

Three years ago France and Kylian Mbappe were on top of the world.

The country had just won the World Cup and the striker, at the age of 19, was named the competition’s best young player, culminating in a scintillating performance to beat Croatia in the final.

Roll time on to the summer of 2021 and Mbappe missed the decisive penalty that saw France go out of Euro 2020 in the last 16 at the hands of huge underdogs Switzerland.

As French daily L’Equipe remarked in a headline on their website: “Fallen from so high.”

For Mbappe, this will surely be a minor setback in what is becoming a remarkable career – but is there a reason why he and his world champion team-mates looked so off the pace and are heading home?

Mbappe came into the tournament having scored 41 goals for club and country last season, including winning the French Cup with Paris St-Germain.

But his Euros campaign was a tournament to forget as he failed to score in any of the four games, with his 14 shots without netting the most by any player to this point.

The 22-year-old had the responsibility of taking the fifth penalty against Switzerland, but saw a fairly tame effort superbly saved by Yann Sommer.

Former England defender Gary Neville said on ITV: “You just knew as Mbappe was walking up. You thought ‘oh no’. He had a couple of moments in extra time but it’s just not gone well for him.

“He has aspirations of being the best player in the world like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi but this is a little bump in the road for him. He will come through it.

“He is having a tough time in this tournament and it’s a tough one for him to take as well as his French team.”

Mbappe didn’t impress the viewing public in the game either, his score of 4.44 was above only the 4.33 for defender Clement Lenglet, who was substituted at half-time.

France boss Didier Deschamps said: “Kylian Mbappe is incredibly sad, as are all the players, but nobody can be upset with him as he took on the responsibility of taking the fifth penalty.”

France had lost just one of their last 17 European Championship and World Cup games.

Former France midfielder Patrick Vieira was scathing in his assessment of the team, saying on ITV: “The best team deserve to go to the next round and tonight that is the Swiss.

BBC Sport