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Soccer-Mbappe wants to play against Poland, Deschamps says

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Adds details and background

By William Schomberg

DORTMUND, Germany, June 24 (Reuters) -France striker Kylian Mbappe is making progress in his recovery from a broken nose and wants to play against Poland at Euro 2024 on Tuesday, coach Didier Deschamps said on Monday but he avoided questions on whether Mbappe would definitely feature.

The prolific, Real Madrid-bound attacker broke his nose in France's opening 1-0 win over Austria and sat out the 0-0 draw with the Netherlands.

France have not yet scored a goal of their own in Germany, the win over Austria being secured by an own goal. Their hopes of snatching the top spot in Group D from the Dutch could rest not only on beating Poland but also on how many goals they score, putting Mbappe's recovery under a bright spotlight.

"He's better day by day," Deschamps told reporters when asked if the 25 year-old - who has scored 47 goals in 80 appearances for France - was ready to return to the pitch.

"I won't deny that he is as keen to play tomorrow as he was to play against the Netherlands."

Deschamps said Mbappe's bruising had diminished which was making it easier for him to get used to wearing a protective mask even if it slightly restricted his vision.

Mbappe took part in a practice match on Saturday and has trained again since then.

Speaking to reporters before Deschamps, France midfielder N'Golo Kante hinted that Mbappe could be back to face the already-eliminated Polish.

"With Kylian back, I think that can help us to score and win. Clearly, it's a big plus to have Kylian back," Kante said.

Poland were the first team to fail to make the knockout rounds at Euro 2024 having lost their first two group matches.

At the same time as the France-Poland match, the Netherlands face a more in-form Austria who will be hoping for a top-two finish in the group themselves.

Both France and the Netherlands have four points with the Dutch ahead on goals scored.

"The more goals we score, more likely it is that we finish top," Deschamps said.

The Group D winners will face the second-placed team in Group F, a spot held now by Turkey, while the runners-up will take on whoever comes second in Group E in which Romania, Belgium, Slovakia and Ukraine are all on three points.

France have finished top of their qualifying groups in all five previous major tournaments under Deschamps as coach - three World Cups and two European Championships.

Writing by William Schomberg, editing by Ed Osmond and Hugh Lawson


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