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It has not been an ideal start to UEFA Euro 2024 for favorites France after a goalless draw with Netherlands in Group D on Friday. However, considering Kylian Mbappe's broken nose and the narrow nature of their opening win over Austria, Les Bleus' four points from six which puts them on course for the round of 16 is not that bad either. Especially when you consider that this French defense is yet to ship a goal in Germany this summer.

Despite a flurry of early chances for both sides in Leipzig, neither Mike Maignan nor Bart Verbruggen could be beaten over 90 minutes with France particularly guilty of wasteful finishing in front of goal. On another day, Antoine Griezmann could have had a goal or two, Adrien Rabiot might have had one and Marcus Thuram could have hit the net too. Yet the closest we came to a goal was Xavi Simons' second-half effort for Oranje which was ruled out via VAR.

This lack of clinical edge from Didier Deschamps' men underlined exactly why Mbappe's absence was always going to be so problematic. The Real Madrid-bound superstar brings that difference between taking the precious few chances that come your way in a game such as this which Les Bleus will probably recognize was far more than they expected up against Virgil van Dijk, Nathan Ake, Stefan de Vrij and Denzel Dumfries with Verbruggen alert when they did threaten.

Mbappe showed at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar that he has the appetite for such a major international tournament yet his Euro record is relatively bare given the underwhelming nature of Euro 2020 -- his only edition so far. Whether the French captain is back for the Poland clash or not, he will be expected to return and contribute heavily from the round of 16. He will undoubtedly want to face the Poles if at all possible and this draw keeps alive the possibility that does need to play.

Griezmann, Thuram, Dembele and Rabiot should arguably have done the job in his absence here, though, given the sheer number of chances created. Such an over-reliance on Mbappe's finishing could prove hugely detrimental if his broken nose proves to be even more problematic than it already has been. It also decreases the chances of us seeing a fully fit 25-year-old in full flow this tournament given his rustiness before the Austria game.

Fortunate, then, that the defense looks so solid with Maignan able to rely upon a solid central defensive pairing of William Saliba and Dayot Upamecano with Jules Kounde and Theo Hernandez on either side. The Arsenal stopper has enjoyed a particularly convincing start to this Euro and quickly repaid Deschamps' belated faith in his strong Gunners form to become one of the bosses in this France back line which benefits from a rejuvenated N'Golo Kante patrolling in front of it.

Calm, collected and impeccable in terms of reading the game and positioning himself, these two opening clean sheets are testament to Saliba's impact upon this back line. There is also the disciplined nature of Deschamps' approach which is always geared around results as opposed to the aesthetic but that should not take away from the elevated nature of the 23-year-old's quick adaptation to the rigors of international tournament soccer.

Regardless of Mbappe's potential return to the starting XI in Dortmund, Les Bleus should feel confident of beating Poland who have lost both of their games to be eliminated before the final group fixture. Five goals conceded for two scored suggests that Deschamps should see his team finally click in front of goal and an inability to thoroughly rotate his XI means that momentum can continue to be built up ahead of the round of 16.