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Euro-2024: the Blues assume, Belgium on the mat

The French team, favorite to win the Euro, has freed itself from the heavy political context and the sporting pressure faced with the Euro. Austria (1-0), Monday, a successful start far from the worries of Belgium, surprise 1-0 by Slovakia.

The Blues of captain Kylian Mbappé, shaken up all week by French news, found stability and momentum on the pitch in Düsseldorf.

The future Real Madrid striker forced the Austrian lock with a leg pass, a hook, an acceleration and a cross, pushed back into his own goal by defender Maximilian Wöber (38th, 1-0).

Shortly before the end of the match, the former Parisian, however, left the field with his face bloody, hit in an aerial duel with Kevin Danso.

“His nose is not good at all. It's obviously the downside of this evening, even if it's just a nose. Obviously, it's very annoying for us,” said coach Didier Deschamps on TF1.

The vice-world champions, well helped by their goalkeeper Mike Maignan, imitate the other favorites with successful debuts, whether Italy, England, Germany, Spain or the Netherlands.

Euro-2024: the Blues assume, Belgium on the mat

Belgian center forward Romelu Lukaku disappointed after his team's defeat by Slovakia in Frankfurt, June 17, 2024 © AFP – Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV

While waiting for Portugal, opposed on Tuesday (9:00 p.m.) to the Czech Republic, all the European leaders have respected their rank, with the notable exception of Belgium, third nation in the Fifa ranking.< /p>

– Mbappé on all fronts –

The “Red Devils”, led after seven minutes, laid siege to Slovakia, guided by Parisian Milan Skriniar, but failed due to bad luck or lack of precision.

Romelu Lukaku wasted several chances and had two goals invalidated after video assistance intervention. The VAR first signaled him offside (56th, 1-1), then detected a hand from his passer Loïs Openda (86th).

The French team avoided these torments by managing to crack the Austrian defense, before half-time, with a good shot from Mbappé.

As usual As usual, the 25-year-old captain broke through the extra-sporting pressure to guide his team to success, the day after a press conference devastated by the political situation in France.

Euro-2024: the Blues assume, Belgium on the mat

Kylian Mbappé (c) and his teammates during training in Düsseldorf, on the eve of the Blues' entry into Euro-2024 against Austria, June 16, 2024 © AFP – FRANCK FIFE

“I call on young people to go and vote, we see that the extremes are at the gates of power, we have the opportunity to choose the future of our country”, he said in defending the “values ​​of tolerance, diversity and respect”.

The President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron chose to dissolve the National Assembly after the victory in the European elections of National Rally, far-right party led by Marine Le Pen.

The players of the French team were regularly questioned on the subject the week preceding the match. Marcus Thuram, starting Monday in attack, notably called “to fight so that the RN does not pass”.

The success against Austria allows the Blues to get back on track in the Netherlands, their main rivals in Group D, who they face on Friday in Leipzig. The Dutch struggled on Sunday to beat Poland (2-1), despite being deprived of Robert Lewandovski due to injury.

– Irresistible Romania –

Kevin de Bruyne's Belgium would have signed with both hands to obtain a first success, even a narrow one, but the VAR prevented it, among other things.

< p> “Honestly, today, there is not much where I could tell my team that we should have done better”, assured coach Domenico Tedesco, responsible for turning around a team that came out of the World Cup -2022 from the first round.

After the first day, this group E is dominated by Romania, irresistible against Ukraine (3-0) earlier in the day.

Euro-2024: the Blues assume, Belgium on the mat

Romanian Nicolae Stanciu, author of a superb goal against Ukraine, June 17, 2024 in Munich © AFP – DAMIEN MEYER

Captain Nicolae Stanciu (29th) opened the way by scoring one of the most beautiful goals of the tournament, with a brushed shot into the top corner of Andryi Lunin, Real Madrid's No.2 goalkeeper , guilty of a poor recovery.

“This generation shows a soul and has a heart. It's a great day for Romania and a historic victory”, said underlined the coach Edward Iordanescu.

The meeting had a strong symbolic significance for Ukraine, having passed through the roadblocks to compete for its first Euro since the outbreak of the war, in February 2022, by Russia.

All the players entered the pitch with their shoulders wrapped in the yellow and blue national flag, before the anthem sung with emotion by the team and its supporters.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116