Mbappe, Lewandowski score penalties as France and Poland draw at Euro 2024

France's Kylian Mbappe reacts after missing an attempt to score during their UEFA Euro 2024 Group D football match against Poland at the BVB Stadion in Dortmund on Tuesday. Photo: Ina Fassbender/AFP

France's Kylian Mbappe reacts after missing an attempt to score during their UEFA Euro 2024 Group D football match against Poland at the BVB Stadion in Dortmund on Tuesday. Photo: Ina Fassbender/AFP

Published Jun 25, 2024


Kylian Mbappe scored a penalty on his return after breaking his nose but Robert Lewandowski's reply meant France and Poland drew 1-1 in their final group game at Euro 2024 on Tuesday.

The result, combined with Austria's 3-2 victory over the Netherlands at the same time, means France finish second in Group D with one win and two draws.

Wearing a mask to protect his injured nose, Mbappe rolled in a spot-kick to put France ahead early in the second half in Dortmund after Ousmane Dembele was brought down in the Poland area.

It was Mbappe's first ever goal at a European Championship, and the first scored by a France player at this year's tournament — their only prior counter was an own goal by Austria's Maximilian Woeber.

Yet Lewandowski, Poland's all-time top scorer who was himself starting for the first time at Euro 2024 after a thigh injury, equalised from a penalty at the other end 11 minutes from time.

His first kick was saved by Mike Maignan, but Lewandowski was allowed a retake as the France goalkeeper came off his line before the ball had been struck.

France will now head to Duesseldorf for a last-16 tie next Monday against the runners-up in Group E, which will be Belgium, Romania, Slovakia or Ukraine.

More significantly, they are now on the same side of the draw as Portugal, Spain and Germany, which they would have avoided by topping the group.

Often imprecise and lacking in intensity here, the 2022 World Cup runners-up will certainly need to improve on this performance, and their previous group outings, if they are to win the competition.

Poland had already been eliminated before this game, becoming the first team to go out after losing their opening two matches.

This result at least allowed Michal Probierz's side to rescue some pride and gave some cheer to their large support.

Griezmann dropped

It was not just the return of the masked Mbappe — who missed France's 0-0 draw with the Netherlands — that was notable when the line-ups were announced, with Antoine Griezmann unusually left out of the starting XI.

Instead Bradley Barcola got his first start for his country as coach Didier Deschamps went with the front three that played together for Paris Saint-Germain over the past season.

Lewandowski, returning to the stadium where he made his name with Borussia Dortmund a decade ago, had one big chance in the first half, heading wide while unmarked from Piotr Zielinski's cross.

Mbappe spent much of the opening period struggling to get into the game, occasionally stopping to adjust his mask, and removing it entirely during a drinks break in sweltering conditions.

Theo Hernandez was the first France player to test Lukasz Skorupski, starting in goal instead of Wojciech Szczesny who is set to retire from the Poland team soon after the Euros.

Meanwhile Mbappe started to come to life towards the end of the opening half.

On two separate occasions he quickly exchanged passes with Barcola on the left side of the box before having a shot saved by Skorupski.

The Bologna goalkeeper then dived to his left to keep out a trademark Mbappe curler just after the restart, but there was nothing he could do about the penalty which broke the deadlock on 56 minutes.

Dembele's end product had been almost non-existent until he produced a burst of pace on the right as he broke into the box, and all Jakub Kiwior could do was chop him down.

Italian referee Marco Guida immediately pointed to the spot, and Mbappe rolled in his kick before removing his mask as he ran off to celebrate.

Yet Poland did not lie down, and won a penalty of their own when substitute Karol Swiderski was tripped by Dayot Upamecano.

The referee initially waved play on, before changing his mind and pointing to the spot after being coaxed across to the VAR monitor.

Maignan saved Lewandowski's first attempt after a stuttering run-up, but the Barcelona striker made no mistake at the second time of asking.