Why Kylian Mbappe Is Not Playing With a Mask in Spain vs France

Why Kylian Mbappe Is Not Playing With a Mask in Spain vs France

France's Kylian Mbappe.

Kylian Mbappe was first seen sporting his new mask during France’s 1-1 draw against Poland, but the striker was understood to be far from happy with the new equipment he was being forced to wear. According to French outlet L’Equipe, the mask was reportedly impacting his vision and performance during matches.

The 25-year-old was forced to wear the equipment while on the pitch after suffering a horrific injury in France’s opening match of Euro 2024 against Austria. Mbappe challenged for the ball with a header but collided with Kevin Danso, breaking his nose in the process.

Concerns that France’s star player would miss a significant chunk of the tournament were quickly dismissed as he returned to training, but Mbappe will have to wear a mask until he has completely recovered. And that did not go down well at all with the Real Madrid-bound forward, with his peripheral vision “severely limited” per reports.

As such, he eventually decided to abandon the mask for the semi-final vs France.

Didier Deschamps: Mbappe Limited by Mask

Victor Osimhen’s mask for Napoli slightly different

France's Kylian Mbappe

Although the mask itself did not cover a significant part of Mbappe’s eyeline, his mask was manufactured to prevent any further injuries. Because of that, it is 5mm thick, which is much chunkier than the one sported by Napoli striker Victor Osimhen.

That, consequently, limited how effective he is proving to be on the pitch. His manager Didier Deschamps had spoken ahead of their draw against Poland, saying that the striker was struggling to get used to the protection.

“Breathing, no. But vision, yes. It limits vision a little. It’s supposed to protect so in certain situations, it limits the angle of view,” he said.

“A greater risk of playing in the middle? No, the contacts are everywhere, in all the duels. It all depends on the position. You have to get used to it, it feels like you have 3D glasses.”

Robert Lewandowski had also spoken about the difficulty of wearing a mask during matches, having gone through a similar procedure to Mbappe. The Polish frontman fractured his jaw and nose in 2015, and said that wearing a mask to protect himself severely limited his vision.

“When I had to wear a mask myself, it wasn’t nice. It’s quite annoying, especially in the penalty area, I had problems, I didn’t react, I couldn’t see, my field of vision was hampered,” he said.

“It’s a few milliseconds but it can slow down a player. It’s a challenge, it’s not pleasant, but of course a player’s health is more important.”

France’s Route to Euro 2024 Final

Les Bleus given difficult draw after finishing second in Group D

France players pose for a team group photo at Euro 2024.

France needed Mbappe to become accustomed to it as quickly as possible but he never really looked comfortable in the mask. He scored a penalty vs Poland in Group D but didn’t register another goal contribution until he took the mask off for the semi-final vs Spain – picking up an assist just nine minutes into the game.

GIVEMESPORT Key Statistic: Kylian Mbappe’s goal against Poland was the first goal he’s scored at the European Championships.

Drawn on the same side of the knockout rounds as Germany, Portugal and Spain, Deschamps’ squad had to eliminate Belgium in the round of 16 before overcoming Cristiano Ronaldo and co in the next round – with Mbappe coming off before the shoot-out after feeling discomfort having taken a ball to the already tender face.

After suffering through that, he finally ditched the mask for the semi-final vs Spain.


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