Didier Deschamps hails Kylian Mbappe’s resilience after his Euro 2020 nightmare and insists France are ‘better with than without him’ as he bounces back by starring in Nations League comeback win over Belgium
- Kylian Mbappe starred in France’s 3-2 Nations League last-four win over Belgium
- The Frenchman scored a penalty as Les Bleus came back from 2-0 down in Turin
- Mbappe was the villain for France in their shock Euro 2020 last-16 ext in June
- France boss Didier Deschamps praised both Mbappe and his squad’s resilience
Didier Deschamps hailed France star Kylian Mbappe for putting his Euro 2020 woes behind him to fire Les Bleus to a stunning Nations League semi-final comeback win over Belgium.
Mbappe was widely criticised for his role in the June tournament, failing to find the net in the whole competition before missing the crucial spot kick in France’s shock last-16 exit to Switzerland.
In Thursday night’s victory over Belgium – France’s first knockout match since their Euro exit – the 22-year-old was in electric form as Deschamps’ side came from 2-0 down at half-time to win 3-2 late on, with Mbappe scoring a second-half penalty.
France boss Didier Deschamps praised Kylian Mbappe’s (above) resilience on Thursday night
Mbappe scored in France’s 3-2 Nations League semi-final comeback win over Belgium
‘Kylian didn’t have any doubts,’ said Deschamps after the match. ‘He was determined after lacking efficiency at the Euros.
‘Like I always said, the French team is better with than without Kylian Mbappe.
‘We were knocked out by Switzerland (at Euro 2020) but the France national team is still here. We’re still among the best teams.’
France went behind in Thursday’s Turin clash, with Yannick Carrasco and Romelu Lukaku putting Belgium 2-0 up at the interval, despite Les Bleus dominating most of the possession.
Mbappe (right) was the villain for France during their shock Euro 2020 las-16 exit in June
Deschamps’ side were much more clinical after the break, with Karim Benzema pulling a goal back after the hour mark, with Mbappe stepping up from the spot just seven minutes after France’s first.
The final three minutes of the game saw a grandstand finish, with Belgium striker Lukaku seeing a late winner disallowed by VAR, before Paul Pogba struck the woodwork with a late free-kick just two minutes later.
Second after the France midfielder hit the frame of the goal with the set piece, Theo Hernandez fired in a late winner for Les Bleus with a fierce strike from the edge of the area.
Deschamps (middle) hailed Mbappe and the rest of his team for coming back from 2-0 down
The result means France move into Sunday’s Nations League final with Spain, who beat European champions Italy 2-1 on Wednesday, with World Cup winner Deschamps describing Thursday’s dramatic win as one of the best victories as national team coach.
‘It’s one of the best because of how it unfolded, because of the quality of our opponents,’ Deschamps said. ‘Despite the adversity we had the pride and the character to turn it around. It is a great, great moment.
‘We were below our par in the last part of the first half but once we played more aggressively it was another story.
‘The players were feeling down at halftime but it’s because we had given Belgium the opportunity to score those two goals. The players showed pride and character.’