Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat :

Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Mbappé Wants to Erase Bad Memory of Decisive Penalty Miss

France's Kylian Mbappe waves for his fans during a training session in Paderborn, Germany, Thursday, June 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
France's Kylian Mbappe waves for his fans during a training session in Paderborn, Germany, Thursday, June 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
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Mbappé Wants to Erase Bad Memory of Decisive Penalty Miss

France's Kylian Mbappe waves for his fans during a training session in Paderborn, Germany, Thursday, June 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
France's Kylian Mbappe waves for his fans during a training session in Paderborn, Germany, Thursday, June 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

The last time Kylian Mbappé kicked a ball at the European Championship, it sent France out of the competition.
He was the only player to miss in a penalty shootout against Switzerland, and France was eliminated from Euro 2020 in the round of 16 in a game where they led 3-1.
Mbappé, who received hateful abuse online following the miss, is desperate to make amends at Euro 2024 in Germany.
“It was a slap in the face when we failed at the Euro,” the 25-year-old striker said earlier this month. “It’s a big stain on my CV in the national team. I’m in a vengeful mood.”
France is in Group D, where it faces Austria on Monday, followed by the Netherlands on Friday and Poland on June 25.
Mbappé, the team captain, was missing from practice at France’s team based in Germany on Thursday but was back training with his teammates the following days, The Associated Press reported.
“He took some rest but he’s not going to lose his physical condition just because he missed one or two training sessions,” France veteran Olivier Giroud said Friday. “He still has the same legs that we all know and the determination to achieve a great competition. So don’t worry he’s going to be ready for the first match.”
Mbappé was too young to play for France when it reached the final at Euro 2016, bursting onto the scene as a teenager with Monaco the following season. At 19 he won the World Cup with France in 2018, scoring in the final. In Qatar four years later, he became only the second player after Brazil great Pelé to score a hat trick in a World Cup final, though France still lost the match on penalties to Lionel Messi’s Argentina.
“I’ve always wanted to shine for Les Bleus,” the 25-year-old Mbappé said on June 4 before a friendly against Luxembourg. “I’ve always felt this pride, this ambition to leave my mark on French soccer.”
With 47 international goals, he is third on the all-time scoring list behind Giroud (57) and Thierry Henry (51). If Mbappé remains injury free he could well pass 100 goals, a tally reached by just three men in soccer history — Messi, Ali Daei and 130-goal record holder Cristiano Ronaldo.
At club level, Mbappé recently left Paris Saint-Germain as its all-time leading scorer with 256 goals. He won the French league title six times with PSG and once with Monaco.
Although he’s never won the Champions League, or the men’s Ballon d’Or, those dreams could well be fulfilled at his new club Real Madrid over the next five seasons.
“What awaits me will be fantastic,” said Mbappé, who grew up in the Parisian suburb of Bondy. “I’m happy to have left my mark on the PSG’s history. Now there’s the Euro.”
His red-hot burning ambition with Les Bleus is to raise the European Championship trophy high above his head in Berlin in the Euro 2024 final on July 14 — France’s national day.
If Mbappé leaves Germany with a winners’ medal, he will emulate France greats Michel Platini and Zinedine Zidane.
Platini scored nine goals in five games from midfield when France won the European Championship in 1984. Zidane followed up his triumph at the 1998 World Cup with even better performances for champions Les Bleus at Euro 2000.
“We haven’t won it for a long time, 24 years is a lot for a nation like ours,” Mbappé said. “The Euro is a difficult competition, more than a World Cup. All the teams know each other and the style of soccer is similar. Group stages are difficult.”



Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : US Men's Basketball Team Builds Gig Lead then Holds off Australia for 98-92 win in Olympics Tuneup

Jock Landale scored 20 for Australia, which got 17 from Josh Giddey and 14 from Dyson Daniels, The AP reported. The AP
Jock Landale scored 20 for Australia, which got 17 from Josh Giddey and 14 from Dyson Daniels, The AP reported. The AP
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US Men's Basketball Team Builds Gig Lead then Holds off Australia for 98-92 win in Olympics Tuneup

Jock Landale scored 20 for Australia, which got 17 from Josh Giddey and 14 from Dyson Daniels, The AP reported. The AP
Jock Landale scored 20 for Australia, which got 17 from Josh Giddey and 14 from Dyson Daniels, The AP reported. The AP

There was a lot for the US Olympic team to like on Monday. And a lot not to like.

Anthony Davis scored 17 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, Tyrese Haliburton came up with a pair of late 3-pointers that helped stop a freefall by the Americans, and the US beat Australia 98-92 on Monday to improve to 2-0 in its five-game slate of exhibitions leading into the Paris Olympics.

Devin Booker scored 16 for the US, Anthony Edwards scored 14 and three players — LeBron James, Bam Adebayo and Joel Embiid — finished with 10 for the Americans, who are playing host to a pair of exhibitions at Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, this week. They'll play Serbia there on Wednesday.

Jock Landale scored 20 for Australia, which got 17 from Josh Giddey and 14 from Dyson Daniels, The AP reported.

The US led by 24 midway through the third quarter, yet saw that lead cut to six with 5:05 left after Australia went on a 39-21 run. But Haliburton had the next six points on his 3s, pushing the lead back to 92-80.

Australia cut it to four on two separate occasions, but Booker went 4-for-4 from the line in the final 8 seconds to ensure the US would escape.

“Third quarter, we started turning the ball over," US coach Steve Kerr said. "We gave up a ton of points at the basket. Back cuts, offensive boards and so, the game shifted. It's a good lesson for us. Better to learn that lesson now than later. And this will be a good tape for us to watch. But I give Australia a ton of credit. They were great. They fought. They were really physical. Took it to us in the last quarter and a half and really made it a game.”

Second unit, again Just like in the Canada game, the so-called second unit — Haliburton, Jrue Holiday, Adebayo, Davis and Booker — changed the game.

That was the group on the floor when the Americans took a game that was tied at 19-19 with 3:15 left in the first and turned it into a 39-23 lead — a 20-4 run in a span of just over 5 minutes.

Kerr used that group as his starting five to open the second half. But it’s become a clear trend already: when the US goes to its bench and can replace All-Stars with other All-Stars, it’s just going to be a massive problem for opponents who don’t have anywhere near that same level of depth.

“The strength of our team is our depth and we have to utilize our depth,” Kerr said.

It’s been something the Americans have used to their advantage in the past. Dwyane Wade led the gold-medalist 2008 US Olympic team in points, even though he was sixth in minutes on that team and came off the bench in all eight games.

Turnovers Here’s the big trouble sign right now for the US: turnovers.

FIBA games are shorter than NBA games, 40 minutes instead of 48 minutes. That means there are fewer possessions and makes it even more imperative to not give the ball away.

Which the Americans did. A lot.

After committing 15 turnovers in last week's exhibition win over Canada, the US had 18 giveaways on Monday and Australia used them to fuel the comeback effort — getting 25 points off turnovers in the second half alone.

“Our turnovers, it's all about focus and execution,” Davis said.

Injury watch Kevin Durant missed his second consecutive game because of a calf strain, and with only one practice between games it wouldn’t seem likely that he plays Wednesday against Serbia either.

Derrick White, who arrived in Abu Dhabi over the weekend and got into his first practice with the team on Sunday, also didn’t play. White replaced Kawhi Leonard — who deals with knee issues — on the US roster after the Americans determined last week that it wasn’t in Leonard’s best interest to play this summer.