Mbappe apologises for penalty miss in painful France defeat - GulfToday

Mbappe apologises for penalty miss in painful France defeat

Kylian Mbappe

France’s Kylian Mbappe (right) is consoled by team-mates after missing the penalty during their UEFA Euro 2020 round of 16 football match against Switzerland on Monday. Agence France-Presse

France forward Kylian Mbappe has apologised for missing the decisive spot kick in Monday’s 5-4 shootout loss to Switzerland that saw the world champions crash out of the European Championship in the last 16.

Switzerland scored twice in the final 10 minutes in a thrilling 3-3 draw and, following a goalless extra time, prevailed in the shootout after goalkeeper Yann Sommer saved from Mbappe.

Mbappe said France were “incredibly sad” after exiting the tournament and that his miss would keep him awake at night.

“I’m sorry about this penalty. I wanted to help the team but I failed,” Mbappe wrote on Instagram here.

“It’s going to be hard to sleep after this, but unfortunately these are the ups and downs of this sport that I love so much.

“The most important (thing) will be to get back up again even stronger for future commitments. Congratulations and good luck to the Swiss team.”

Switzerland face Spain in the quarter-finals on Friday.

France desperate to move on from ‘immense sadness’:  Euro 2020 was supposed to be the next step on Mbappe’s path to greatness and France’s golden chance to become world and European champions, only for their campaign to end with a painful failure in a penalty shoot-out.

The recall of the exiled Karim Benzema had appeared to further strengthen the team who lifted football’s biggest prize three years ago, but Didier Deschamps’ men never managed to hit those heights again.

Questions will be asked in France of why a team boasting a plethora of attacking talent were unable to beat Hungary and Switzerland, with Deschamps’ tactics, Mbappe’s lack of goals and a shaky defence sure to be under the microscope.

But France and Mbappe will have to quickly forget their defeat and ensure the mistakes which cost them in Bucharest are not repeated at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The pre-tournament favourites at Euro 2020 can claim they were still unbeaten, barring penalties, and their World Cup title defence is just 17 months away.

Mbappe burst onto the international scene in Russia in 2018, scoring four goals and becoming the first teenager to net in the World Cup final since Pele 60 years earlier.

But he endured a frustrating European championship, starting with a disallowed goal and ending with Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer’s save from what proved to be France’s last kick.

Despite going four games without a goal, Mbappe was a threat throughout the tournament, only to be let down by his finishing, usually so deadly.

A failure to stay onside denied him a brilliant individual goal in the opening 1-0 group phase win over Germany, before he missed two big chances in extra time against the Swiss.

Still hobbling after pulling up following a poor left-footed shot wide, the Paris Saint-Germain star then saw his spot-kick saved.

But Deschamps, whose contract runs until the end of the World Cup, was quick to defend his young striker.

“A lot was expected of Kylian,” he said. “Even though he didn’t score, he often played a decisive role.

“He took the responsibility to take the last penalty and no-one is angry at him.

“In the changing room, no one was more to blame than anyone else. Kylian has taken responsibility, he feels guilty but he shouldn’t.”

Although the spotlight will fall on Mbappe, the reality is that France had the game all but wrapped up when holding a 3-1 lead with less than 10 minutes remaining.

Deschamps’ decision to revert to a back three due to the injuries to left-backs Lucas Hernandez and Lucas Digne gave Switzerland an early boost as France struggled for any rhythm in the first half.

They woke up after Hugo Lloris saved Ricardo Rodriguez’s penalty in the second half but folded in the closing stages.

Presnel Kimpembe’s poor attempt at a tackle on Mario Gavranovic before the Swiss substitute’s dramatic equaliser will again raise the question why the Paris Saint-Germain man, and Barcelona centre-back Clement Lenglet, were starting for France just hours after Aymeric Laporte helped Spain into the last eight after switching allegiance.


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