Euro 2024 Daily: Mbappe struggles again as France get lucky


Euro 2024 is into the knockout stages! Our daily files give you the latest reporting from around the tournament as well as betting lines, what to watch for and best reads.

Check in with ESPN throughout the tournament as we bring you the latest from Germany all the way up to the final July 14.


The lead: France vs. Belgium

DÜSSELDORF, Germany — Thanks to Euro 2024’s top scorer — an own goal by Jan Vertonghen being the ninth time at this tournament a player has put the ball into their net — Kylian Mbappé will get another chance to make his mark in Germany. Vertonghen deflected substitute Randal Kolo Muani’s late effort into his own net as pre-tournament favourites France beat Belgium to advance to the quarterfinals, but the masked Mbappé once again struggled to make an impact.

France fans did everything they could to help him feel comfortable, some sporting masks in solidarity with their star player after he broke his nose in their opening game against Austria, but the Real Madrid forward is struggling to find his best football. He managed five shots against Belgium and now has a tournament high 15 in total — joint with Germany’s Kai Havertz, who has played one game more — but has just one goal to show for his efforts: a penalty against Poland.

Having had the chance to play in a behind-closed-doors friendly and against Poland while wearing the mask, the expectation was he would take centre stage against Belgium. However, he looked out of sorts on the left, with coach Didier Deschamps opting to keep Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann pinned to the flanks. The roars of expectation that greeted his early touches slowly petered out, although that was in part due to the fact this quickly turned into a drab affair. Belgium were happy to sit back and wait for their chance. France were unable to create much in the final third other than long-range strikes from Aurélien Tchouaméni, the majority of which landed in the Rhein river.

If anything, it looked like the remaining vanguard of Belgium’s Golden Generation might nick it in front of the red wall of Belgian support behind Mike Maignan’s goal. Maignan, though, saved brilliantly, first from Romelu Lukaku and then Kevin De Bruyne to keep the game on a knife’s edge. Two minutes after De Bruyne’s 83rd-minute shot, which was well struck, the winner arrived. Kolo Muani’s shot was off target, but it deflected off 37-year-old Vertonghen and found the back of the net. De Bruyne sunk to the floor, aware of how the tie had just been decided by the finest of margins.

At full-time, though, it was still Mbappé who the cameras honed in on. A young fan raced on to the pitch, security hunting him down. But Mbappé told them to let him stay for a few seconds and grab his selfie. Then he headed off to celebrate in front of the France fans, finally able to free himself of a mask which he says has been difficult to get used to. He will hope his act of kindness with the selfie-hunter will earn him some good karma in the quarterfinal against Portugal or Slovenia, when he will get another chance to make this tournament his. — Sam Marsden


Sights and sounds around Euro 2024

The beers are on me

Each of the venues at Euro 2024 is serviced by hundreds of volunteers, and one in particular has become well known for a very special talent.

Fans who have attended games in Germany have been helped around the stadiums by people wearing green jackets, with one working at Cologne’s RheinEnergieStadion becoming famous for his ability to carry jugs of beer on his head.

He’s been spotted at each of the group games Cologne has hosted, and he was in action again ahead of Spain’s round-of-16 4-1 victory against Georgia on Sunday night.

Walking around the stadium with six jugs of beer perched on his head, he was routinely stopped by supporters and other stadium workers to pose for pictures. He obliged everyone before carrying on his journey and, most importantly, not a single drop of beer was spilled.

Bellingham hits the right notes

England star Jude Bellingham is impacting on the music scene as well as the scoring charts at Euro 2024, with a surge in downloads of the Beatles classic “Hey Jude.”

According to data released by Spotify, streams of Hey Jude increased by 35% in the hours after Bellingham’s stoppage-time equaliser against Slovakia on Sunday. Bellingham’s goal saved England from defeat and elimination before Harry Kane scored to seal a 2-1 win after extra time.

England’s win also saw other songs enjoy a spike in popularity, with streams of “Southgate, You’re the One” up by 137%.

Streams of Baddiel, Skinner and Lightning Seeds’ “Three Lions (Football’s Coming Home)” jumped by 146%, and Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” went up by 48%.

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1:58

Bellingham: England used criticism as motivation

Jude Bellingham says England used the “pile on” they have faced from critics at Euro 2024 to motivate themselves.

Rice hits back at Slovakia

England midfielder Declan Rice carried the fight to Slovakia long after the final whistle of Sunday’s win.

As players, staff and match officials exchanged words and handshakes at the final whistle, Slovakia coach Francesco Calzona pushed Rice in the chest as he tried to talk to Turkish referee Umut Meler.

Rice allegedly offered some choice language in return. Lipreading expert Jeremy Freeman has claimed Rice made a derogatory comment about Calzona’s baldness, and the pair had to be separated.

Calzona gave his version of events shortly afterward. “Rice was supposed to go to the referees and say goodbye and leave,” he began. “I had to speak to the referees and he was carrying on and continuing to speak then he apologised and it all ended there.”

Although it didn’t. Rice was still clearly irked by prematch suggestions from the Slovakia camp that their greater team unity could outmatch England’s individual quality.

“There’s that inner fight and spirit in us that a few Slovakian players before the game said that we didn’t have,” Rice said. “We’ve got that togetherness, we proved that out there tonight. We’ll die for each other out there. We’ll do anything to protect this manager, protect each other.”

The standard of England’s general play has been well short of expectations, despite reaching the quarterfinals, but Rice is making sure their hunger still comes to the fore.

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0:44

Ogden: Southgate would’ve been thinking about resigning vs. Slovakia

Mark Ogden speaks after England’s lackluster win over Slovakia in extra-time at Euro 2024.

Rock, paper, scissors … water

As Spain’s squad celebrated their win over Georgia in front of their supporters in Cologne, Nico Williams and Lamine Yamal remained in the middle of the pitch playing rock, paper, scissors.

For some reason, there was only one water bottle available and this was their way of settling who got to drink first. First round? Rock and rock, draw. Second round? Paper and paper, draw. Third round? Scissors and paper, the spoils — and the water — to Williams.

Williams and Yamal have been two of the stars of Spain’s run to a quarterfinal with hosts Germany on and off the pitch. They tore Georgia apart — Williams scored one goal and assisted another, while Yamal had one assist — and then treated fans to some of their latest dance moves, which have been TikTok-perfected during the tournament. There is a real bromance developing. It was an extra special night for Williams, too, who had his brother, Athletic Club teammate Iñaki, in the stands cheering him on. — Sam Marsden

Musiala enters Germany record books

Jamal Musiala has already carved his name into Euro 2024 as one of the stars of the tournament, and the Germany forward has now created his own piece of history for the national team, too.

Musiala, 21, is a leading contender for the tournament’s Golden Boot award having scored three times for Julian Nagelsmann’s team and his goal in Saturday’s 2-0 round-of-16 win against Denmark has been recorded as the 1,000th goal scored by Germany in a competitive match.

There are some iconic names on the list of previous German goal scorers including Gerd Muller, Jurgen Klinsmann, Lothar Matthaus and Miroslav Klose, but Musiala now holds the distinction of taking Die Mannschaft to the landmark.

For the record, Germany have conceded 394 goals in competitive football, so they go into Friday’s quarterfinal against Spain in Stuttgart with a goal difference of +606.

In matches at a European Championship, Germany have 88 goals and 57 goals conceded (goal difference: +31). — Mark Ogden

Yakin the fashion icon

Switzerland and their head coach, Murat Yakin, have been a big hit in this tournament after some impressive performances — including Saturday’s 2-0 win over Italy in the round of 16. What has also been a big hit are the glasses worn by Yakin. He has become a bit of a fashion icon on social media and his look is being heavily commented on, especially by women.

Yakin has worn two different pairs of glasses in these Euros. One is a set of retro glasses with a distinctive black frame from the Zurich optician label Götti. The model is called Reyes and costs around €515 euros.

The other set is semi-transparent and from the Swiss designer brand Nirvan Javan. They were made by the opticians at Bellevue Optics in Zurich. The model is called Tokyo 04:01 (JST) and costs €545, according to the website.

Both models have become really popular since Yakin has been seen wearing them. He has also been displaying a Carl F Bucherer watch during the tournament and is an ambassador for the watchmaker from Lucerne. The Patravi TravelTec II model on his wrist is worth … €11,000. — Julien Laurens.


Stat of the day

Jan Vertonghen’s own goal was the ninth scored at Euro 2024, the second-most in a single tournament (after 11 at Euro 2020) — ESPN Stats & Info


Match previews for Tuesday

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2:06

What changes will Koeman make for Netherlands vs. Romania?

Fresia Cousiño Arias looks ahead to the Netherlands’ round-of-16 clash against Romania at Euro 2024.

Romania vs. Netherlands (Munich; 6 p.m. local / midday ET)

Odds (via ESPN BET): Romania +600, Draw +350, Netherlands -230

Having topped Group E to set up a round-of-16 tie against Netherlands in Munich, Romania now believe they can reach at the least the semifinals of Euro 2024 after being handed a favourable path to the final four.

“We have unity, we have courage and we have determination,” goalkeeper Florin Nita said. “We achieved our target before the start of this championship, which was to reach the knockout stages, but after this nice period, the others and I all wish from the bottom of our hearts to go as far as possible in this competition. Why not? Beat Netherlands and, afterwards, Turkey or Austria.”

The Dutch go into the game with pressure increasing on the team and coach Ronald Koeman to deliver a performance to match the quality of a squad that only got out of their group as a best third-place team.

And forward Memphis Depay, who scored his first goal of Euro 2024 in the group stage defeat against Austria, says the “friction” around the Dutch can work in their favour.

“The atmosphere is good,” Depay said. “But a journey is never perfect. A bit of friction is normal. We are together for a month, focused on getting results. If the results aren’t what you want, it’s logical that you’re irritated. Like I said before, if there’s no friction then there’s no polish.” — Ogden

Austria vs. Turkey (Leipzig; 9 p.m. local / 3 p.m. ET)

Odds: Austria -105, Draw +230, Turkey +300

After topping a group that included France and Netherlands, Austria have rapidly been promoted to dark horses in many observers’ eyes. Coach Ralf Rangnick, never one to display false modesty, accepts that his crew have turned heads with their intense, high-risk, high-reward style.

Against Turkey, they’ll be without the suspended Patrick Wimmer, but it’s less of a blow since Rangnick loves to rotate in certain positions. Indeed, two of his more experienced players – both of whom started the first two matches but were rested against the Dutch – Konrad Laimer and Christoph Baumgartner — are likely to start and be rested for this game.

Indeed, midfielders Marcel Sabitzer, Nicolas Seiwald and Florian Grillitsch and right-back Stefan Posch are the only outfield players who have started all three matches, which speaks to Rangnick’s vision of interchangeability and freshness.

Turkey boss Vincenzo Montella will need to cope without the suspended Samet Akaydin and, especially, Hakan Çalhanoglu, his captain. At the back, goalkeeper Mert Günok is still not fully fit but is likely to start ahead of Altay Bayindir, who struggled in Turkey’s second group stage match.

On the positive front, Abdülkerim Bardakci is back from suspension and teenage sensations Arda Güler and Kenan Yildiz have looked impressive. — Gabriele Marcotti


Betting tip (odds via ESPN BET)

Austria impressed a lot in the group stage, and I expect that fine form to continue. They have been labelled the surprise package of the tournament, which is testament to their performances leading up to this tie with Turkey. Austria advance in 90 minutes. -105 — Dan Thomas


One big read

It was well past 1 a.m. local time in Hamburg on Wednesday night, but there were still cars racing around the city centre, horns beeping, flags fluttering from their windows.

A few hours earlier, Turkey had sealed their passage into the knockout rounds of Euro 2024 with a 2-1 win over Czechia, and the scene around the Hamburg fan park — in the shadow of the giant World War II anti-aircraft bunker at Feldstrasse — could have been Istanbul or Ankara rather than Germany.

The scene was re-created in Dortmund ahead of Turkey’s first two group games against Georgia and Portugal, and it will be the same in Leipzig when they meet Austria.

Turkey bid to host Euro 2024 only to be beaten in the vote by Germany, but ferocious support all over the country has made this feel like a home tournament.

– Dawson: Can droves of Turkey fans push their team at Euro 2024?


And finally …

It looked like any football fan in attendance at Glastonbury would have to miss out on watching England’s game against Slovakia after festival organisers decided against screening any European Championship fixtures at this year’s event.

However, a saviour emerged in the somewhat unlikely form of a famous pop star who just so happened to purchase a flat-screen TV and then rigged it up in the public area in order to stream the game live.

Louis Tomlinson of One Direction reportedly purchased the TV (and a generator with which to power it) from a store on the morning of the England game and initially attempted to set it up in the VIP section of the site. However, his efforts were thwarted by a weak Wi-Fi signal.

He then relocated his television to the campsite, found a stream for the match and sat and watched with his friends and hundreds of fellow supporters as the drama (slowly) unfolded.

Tomlinson is a known football fanatic and has even previously made an appearance for the reserve side of his beloved Doncaster Rovers in 2013.





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