sport news Euro 2020 heartache for Kylian Mbappe: What next for France's golden boy?

sport news Euro 2020 heartache for Kylian Mbappe: What next for France's golden boy?
sport news Euro 2020 heartache for Kylian Mbappe: What next for France's golden boy?

How football can bring about such contrasts.

Just three years ago a teenage Kylian Mbappe was blitzing past opponents at the 2018 Russia World Cup, leading his nation to greatness.

Mbappe would go on to score in the final and be crowned a world champion despite his tender years, and was the main reason why France entered Euro 2020 as red hot favourites.

Kylian Mbappe was inconsolable after missing the crucial penalty to send France home

Kylian Mbappe was inconsolable after missing the crucial penalty to send France home

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Now, after Monday night's shock exit at the hands of Switzerland, a dark cloud hangs over the France team and particularly over the head of young Mbappe.

The precociously talented youngster still has the world at his feet - there is absolutely no denying that - but the actions he takes in the coming months will go a long way to defining how he recovers from this most painful of set-backs.

With his Paris Saint Germain future in doubt and questions being asked, in some quarters, about his attitude and growing ego, what comes next for France's golden boy?

It was a long walk up to the penalty spot for Mbappe in Bucharest, after each and every player before him had found the back of the net.

Having forced the game to extra-time at the very death, Switzerland had both the momentum and the confidence.

Mbappe knew he needed to score or it was lights out for his nation, yet his tame right-footed effort was nowhere near close enough to the far corner to give Yan Sommer anything to worry about.

And yet, somehow, there had been a lingering feeling that not all was going to plan from the start.

Something was amiss from the moment the tournament, for Mbappe and France, had begun. Now a long couple of months lay ahead. But how did things get to this point?

Public infighting

Starting an international tournament on a bad note is never a good idea, but an issue had arisen between Mbappe and Chelsea's Olivier Giroud.

A final warm-up match prior to Euro 2020 had prompted Giroud to criticise the forward line and claim that enough chances were not being made for others.

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Mbappe was involved in a pre-tournament feud with fellow France forward Olivier Giroud

Mbappe was involved in a pre-tournament feud with fellow France forward Olivier Giroud

Mbappe was said to be furious after the Chelsea man came out after the game and claimed that France's front players could have linked up better, while he visibly looked annoyed with Mbappe on the pitch.

L'Equipe claimed that Mbappe, so livid with Giroud, wanted to go public with his response, but was talked out of holding his own press conference.

Usually, these things are quickly brushed under the carpet. After all, who wants their dirty laundry airing for all to see?

Yet for some reason France always seem to find away to let a drop of unrest really root into the camp and fester for long periods of time, causing myriad problems as a result.

Mbappe ultimately had his chance to go public on the subject, speaking to the media in a Euro 2020 press conference ahead of the Germany game - which they would go on to narrowly win 1-0 in the groups.

'I spoke with Olivier Giroud,' he said. 'Everyone knows what happened. It is true that I was a little affected by it. But we are not going to make a big deal about it because we are here to represent France, that is the most important thing.

'It is more that he said it publicly than the fact that he said it. I saw him in the dressing room and he didn't say anything to me.'

And so that was that. The issue was considered addressed, yet Mbappe had revealed to the world that an awkward rift was still residing within the dressing room.

Would this go on to hamper France's play, particularly the forward line? Some people may now, in hindsight, suggest yes.

Squandered chances

Much has been made of Mbappe's failure to even find the back of the net once at the Euros, and plenty more will no doubt be written.

The big players have to arrive at the big tournaments and Mbappe simply failed to do so.

When the going got tough and the pressure piled on in the knockout rounds, Mbappe was unable to deliver. 

Against Switzerland Mbappe found himself played through by a highly in-form Paul Pogba on multiple occasions, yet was unable to either beat the last man or sort his feet out in time to convert.

His flicked assist for Karim Benzema against the Swiss was his only one of the tournament, and further chances were missed in the group stage against both Germany and Hungary.

Mbappe's poor penalty was just one of a few key misses during the tournament for France

Mbappe's poor penalty was just one of a few key misses during the tournament for France

For a player with a lot on his mind, this must have been tough to take. 

After all, Mbappe had just endured a miserable season in which PSG had squandered the league title against all odds - before then heading into a major international tournament and falling out with a team-mate.

As more games passed by and Mbappe failed to break his drought, a psychological element perhaps came into play.

The result? A boiling

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