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France runs out of steam against the Netherlands, Lewandowski says goodbye to the Euro

Ukraine beat Slovakia with a last-minute goal in extra time.

, Theo Hernández (i) de Francia y Lutsharel Geertruida de Holanda luchan por el balón en el empate de Francia y Países Bajos en la fase de grupos de la Eurocopa 2024,

(Cordon Press)

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(AFP) France was faced with the absence of its star Kylian Mbappé and earned only a goalless draw against the Netherlands in the star match of a Friday that also marked Polish veteran Robert Lewandowski's goodbye to the European Championship.

After the 0-0 draw in Leipzig, Germany, the first without goals in this Euro, the French and the Dutch sit tied atop Group D. In the same group, Austria defeated Poland 3-1 to keep them in contention for the round of 16, at least as a top third-place finisher in the group stage. The Polish side is officially eliminated.

French coach Didier Deschamps did not want to risk reinjury for Mbappé and left him on the bench for the entire game. The new Real Madrid star broke his nose on Monday in the opening match against Austria, which ended with a victory for Les Bleus (1-0).

The loss of Mbappé was noticeable for the French side, who generated multiple chances, but were unable to beat rival goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen.

It was an even match, though the physicality of Deschamps' team allowed them to dominate Ronald Koeman's more tactical side, who competed face to face with the reigning World Cup runner-up.

The only goal of the match was scored by the Dutch thanks to a shot from Xavi Simons in the 69th minute, but the referee called it off due to offside by his teammate Dumfries after a VAR review.

"For me it was a valid goal, but he didn't score it. It's a shame," Dutch center back Virgil van Dijk told the press after the game.

With this goalless draw, France and the Netherlands will have to wait for the third matchday to seal their qualification for the round of 16.

More than in their results, Les Bleus will have to improve especially in their offensive efficiency after having scored only one goal in the first two games. "We had many chances, the only thing I regret is that we didn't score," Deschamps said after the match in statements to the French network M6.

Although France remains the favorite, the side has not dazzled to open the tournament as Spain and Germany have, the latter two having already sealed their spot in the round of 16.

Deschamps' team will play on matchday three against an eliminated Poland, while Koeman's men will face Austria.

Poland says goodbye

The Poles can now pack their bags after being mathematically eliminated following a loss to Austria in Berlin.

Polish star Robert Lewandowski entered the game from the bench with half an hour to go, when the score read 1-1. But the FC Barcelona striker, far from being the hero of his team, was a privileged witness to its collapse, after the goals from Austria's Christoph Baumgartner and Marko Arnautovic from a penalty.

"He is in top form," said the Polish coach about his team's star who has played a supporting role so far in the Euro with only one game left to play, against France, in which he will try to say goodbye to the tournament with a good taste in his mouth.

Austria, which started the Euro by challenging France despite the defeat (1-0), revived its chances of reaching the round of 16.

Ukraine comes back

Ukraine also revived its chances after coming back to win 2-1 against Slovakia in Düsseldorf.

A goal from Ivan Schranz gave Slovakia an early lead, but in the second half Shaparenko (54') and Roman Yaremchuk (90'+1) turned the result around.

Real Madrid goalkeeper Andreiy Lunin, who had a poor showing in the 3-0 defeat against Romania and was ultimately subbed off, was not on the field. He was replaced by Anatoliy Turbin, goalkeeper for Portuguese side Benfica.

Ahead of the Belgium-Romania match Saturday, there is a three-way tie at the top of Group E, with Ukraine, Slovakia and Romania tied on three points, while the Belgians will be forced to add points against the Romanians.

The Belgian team will have to avoid defeat if it does not want to join Poland on the list of teams eliminated early.