Misfiring Kylian Mbappé to hold 2018 World Cup Winners back at Euro 24?

Euro 2024 has reached the semi-finals stage and a gargantuan clash gets the last four underway this Tuesday in Munich. The tournament’s top scorer’s Spain face off with a star-studded France who are seriously struggling to find the back of the net.

Both sides were amongst the favourites ahead of the tournament but Spain have looked a lot more convincing than their counter parts to date. France have failed to impress throughout the tournament, finishing behind Austria in their group and requiring a fortuitous deflected goal to edge past Belgium in the last 16. Then it was a similar story against Portugal, as they failed to score in 120 minutes and needed a penalty shoot-out victory to clinch their place in the semi-finals. Remarkably, they are in the last four without scoring a single goal from open play. So why, with all their attacking talent, is France failing to find the back of the net?

Why is France’s attack failing to ignite?

Didier Deschamps has an abundance of attacking talent at his disposal but France has failed to truly click going forward. France has eight players categorized as attackers on Transfermarkt in their 26-man squad with a combined market value of €478 million – with five of those players valued at €50m or higher. But as the graphic below illustrates, France are the lowest-scoring team left in the tournament with a measly three goals from their five games so far. Spain was the highest with eight more goals scored than their opponents.

When we look at the historical goalscoring records of semi-finalists at European Championships it makes for even bleaker reading for the France attack. As you can see in the graphic below, when we look at open-play goals scored by nations to make it to this stage, France boasts the worst record since Euro 1984. Their grand total of 0 goals has never been matched by a Euro semi-finalist. Although the team joined second on the list in Denmark at Euro 1992 and went on to win that tournament against the odds, so there could be hope yet.

 

A French player is yet to score a non-penalty goal as Kylian Mbappé scored from a spot-kick and their other two goals were own goals. Deschamps is renowned for his conservative approach and although it delivered the World Cup in 2018, France’s misfiring attack at this tournament is a concern. Against Belgium, Deschamps deployed Antoine Griezmann from the right but that caused problems both in and out of possession, while Marcus Thuram has endured a disappointing tournament despite an encouraging first season at Inter Milan.

Griezmann doesn’t enjoy playing wide and he lacks the pace to be a devastating option from the right but moving him to his preferred No.10 role appears unlikely as Deschamps has settled on N’Golo Kanté, Aurélien Tchouaméni and either Adrian Rabiot or Eduardo Camavinga as his preferred midfield three. Maximising Mbappe’s threat will likely be the key to France’s success against Spain, but Deschamps has failed to find the optimum formula at this tournament yet.

Sourced from; Transfermarkt.com


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