Mbappé set to start for France against Moldova
Kylian Mbappé is "highly likely" to start for France as the FIFA World Cup winners seek the win at home to Moldova on Thursday that will seal their place in the UEFA EURO 2020 final tournament.
Thursday, 14 November, 2019
UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying, Group H
Stade de France, Saint-Dénis
France - Moldova
Injury meant Mbappé sat out both the September and October internationals. With the Paris Saint-Germain striker fit again and in top form — he has scored four times in his last three league games — France coach Didier Deschamps will employ his young superstar at the front of the attack at the Stade de France where he remains cautious about claiming the three points that will see the world champions through.
"Caution does not signify fear," explained Deschamps after admitting it was "highly likely" Mbappé would start the game. "It's always good to be cautious or on your guard. The reality right now is that we're not qualified. Fact. We're going to do everything we can to achieve our goal.
"It's better to be pragmatic than to look ahead to something we don't have. We musn't believe we've already qualified. This match should serve us as a way of clinching qualification."
WATCH: Mbappé stars in the Classique
While Mbappé is back, Blaise Matuidi, Samuel Umtiti, Paul Pogba, Hugo Lloris and Lucas Hernandez — all World Cup winners — are missing through injury, meaning N'Golo Kanté and Corentin Tolisso are set to start in midfield.
After making his return to the squad following a serious knee injury, Benjamin Mendy is likely to have to sit this one out with Lucas Digne preferred at left-back.
"Like so often in such situations, good things come out of something bad," said Deschamps, referring to the fact players slightly further down the pecking order are now getting an opportunity to shine.
"There's not 11 first-choice players and their replacements. In a competition, the starting line-up doesn't change a lot, but over two years — you're not doing experiments — but it's good to see them too. It's a question of circumstance."
Probable France line-up
Mandanda - Pavard, Varane (c), Lenglet, Digne - Kanté, Tolisso - Mbappé, Griezmann, Coman - Giroud