Kylian Mbappe ‘takes over France free-kick duty at Euro 2020 from Antoine Griezmann’… despite the 22-year-old never having scored one directly in his professional career as Didier Deschamps’ men head into crunch Portugal match
- Kylian Mbappe’s ownership of free kicks became evident against Hungary
- The 22-year-old has now reportedly taken over all free kicks with a sight of goal
- Antoine Griezmann will stay on set pieces out wide, starting against Portugal
- Some have questioned why the free-kick role was not given to Lucas Digne
- Mbappe has never scored a direct free kick in 289 games for club and country
- France will finish third in Group F if they lose to Portugal and Germany win
- Find out the latest Euro 2020 news including fixtures, live action and results here
Kylian Mbappe has reportedly taken over free-kick duty from Antoine Griezmann as France head into a crunch match against Portugal – despite the Paris Saint-Germain forward never having scored directly from one in his professional career.
Mbappe’s ownership of free-kick situations started to became evident in the surprise 1-1 draw against Hungary and France-based radio station RMC has now confirmed that the change is permanent.
RMC has reported that Griezmann will still continue to take free kicks that are intended as crosses, while Mbappe – who was allegedly racially abused in Budapest – will take set pieces where he can shoot at goal.
Kylian Mbappe has reportedly taken over free kicks from fellow forward Antoine Griezmann
Griezmann scored the equaliser against Hungary and will still take set pieces from wide areas
Mbappe has seemingly been given the role despite never having scored a direct free kick
While Griezmann – who partly blamed the below-par display in Budapest on playing in front of a full crowd – gets limited practice at free kicks at Barcelona due to Lionel Messi’s presence, he has also failed to net from a set piece for his country, although he scored a number of eye-catching free kicks for Atletico Madrid before moving to the Nou Camp in 2019.
However, some have questioned why the responsibility hasn’t gone to someone like left back Lucas Digne, who has excelled from dead-ball situations at Everton since arriving at the club in 2018 from Barca.
PSG Talk contributor Carl-Oscar Kallstrom tweeted: ‘The fact that Mbappe is on free kicks for France says a lot about his status in the squad.
‘He is not a great long-range shooter and not a good free-kick taker. They have Griezmann, Pogba, Digne and Benzema in the team.’
Some have questioned why Lucas Digne isn’t the new free-kick taker given his past success
The fact that Mbappé is on free kicks for France says a lot about his status in the squad. He is not a great long range shooter and not a good free kick taker.
They have Griezmann, Pogba, Digne and Benzema in the team.
— Carl-Oscar Källström (@COKllstrm) June 19, 2021
Portugal lost 4-2 to Germany on Saturday – but will finish above France if they beat them
France lead Group F with four points after two games following their 1-0 win over Germany and the draw with Hungary.
They come up against a Portugal side on Wednesday who are reeling from a 4-2 defeat to Germany, with both sides on three points.
Nevertheless, the group is fascinatingly poised, with Les Blues needing to avoid defeat against Fernando Santos’ men and hope for Hungary to get at least a point against Joachim Low’s side in order to finish in the top two, with both games at 8pm.