Mbappé watches as France-Netherlands produce Euro 2024’s first 0-0

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LEIPZIG, Germany (AP) — Kylian Mbappé watched from the substitutes’ bench as France and the Netherlands finished 0-0 in a heavyweight European Championship clash on Friday.

Antoine Griezmann missed France’s best chances while Xavi Simons had a goal ruled out for the Dutch in the first goalless draw of the tournament.

It leaves both teams on four points in Group D after their second match. It also ensured Poland were the first team eliminated. Poland were beaten by Austria 3-1 earlier Friday and are assured of finishing bottom of the group, even if they beat France in their final group game.

France’s buildup was dominated by speculation on whether Mbappé would play after the team captain broke his nose in their opening 1-0 win over Austria.

Mbappé trained wearing a face mask on Thursday and coach Didier Deschamps was optimistic he’d be available. But Deschamps evidently decided it was not worth the risk to play Mbappé in a game his team had no need to win.

France enjoyed their best period of pressure after the break, when Aurélien Tchouaméni headed over, goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen denied Griezmann from close range, and Ousmane Dembélé went close.

Then Xavi fired the ball in at the other end in the 69th on a rebound after Mike Maignan saved Memphis Depay’s effort. It set off wild Dutch celebrations that sent beer cups and their contents flying into the Leipzig sky. But the fans’ elation was quickly deflated because Denzel Dumfries, who was offside, obstructed Maignan from attempting to save Xavi’s shot.

Griezmann had the best of France’s early chances, forcing a save from Verbruggen before he and Adrien Rabiot somehow contrived to miss when it seemed easier to score. Rabiot had only the goalkeeper to beat but he attempted a pass instead to Griezmann, who fell over trying to hit it from close range.

The Dutch fans outnumbered their French counterparts. Thousands of orange-clad fans brightened Leipzig’s city center earlier, though the French fans in blue were in no way discouraged from creating their own party. One French supporter brought a live rooster to the stadium on the eve of the match. It was unclear if the animal had a ticket for the game.