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Football | Tuesday, July 9, 2024 10:37 AM (Revised at: Tuesday, July 9, 2024 10:38 AM)

Euro 2024 Top Goalscorer: Why now is a good time to back Kylian Mbappe

Euro 2024 Top Goalscorer: Why now is a good time to back Kylian Mbappe
Meng Gao / Alamy Stock Photo: Kylian Mbappé of France during the UEFA EURO 2024

Euro 2024 semi-finals are round the corner and the race to become top goalscorer is still wide open. Our European football expert, Daniele Fisichella, has looked into this outright market to explain why now is a good time to back Kylian Mbappe.

France’s talismanic striker Kylian Mbappé has only netted once, from the penalty spot against Poland, and was subbed off during extra time against Portugal. He sits two goals behind the tournament’s leading scorers, Cody Gakpo, Jamal Musiala, Ivan Schranz, and Georges Mikautadze. So far, his Euro 2024 campaign has been disappointing.

However, with France now considered the favourites to win the competition, according to BETSiE, how can you rule out the best player in the world, who has already featured and scored in two World Cup finals? 

Spain vs France: follow the stats

Euro 2024, Semi-final, Tuesday, 9th July, 20:00 (UK)

Ahead of the semi-finals, Didier Deschamps’ side are the number one favourite to lift the trophy on Sunday, 14 July.

In fact, according to BETSie, they have a 34.39% chance of winning Euro 2024, ahead of England’s 26.80% and Spain’s 26.06%. For the first time since the tournament began, Les Bleus are considered the main candidates for victory, having started on 16 June with only a 16.95% chance of success.

Gareth Southgate’s men, on the other hand, have always been the favourites to win the Euros until their quarter-final penalty success over Switzerland. 

Curiously, BETSie gives the Three Lions more chances (61.99%) to reach the final than France (55.64%), but should the two sides meet in Berlin on Sunday, the World Cup runners-up would be considered favourites.

Even though the bookies do not place France as favourites to beat Spain, it is worth noting that BETSie has delivered great results at the Euros, with a total win of 19.45 units and a ROI (Return On Investment) of 21%.

France heads into Tuesday’s Euro 2024 semi-final against Spain, banking on a significant performance from their talismanic captain, Kylian Mbappé. At just 25, the Real Madrid-bound star is expected to be at the peak of his powers, yet he has struggled for form and fitness throughout the tournament in Germany.

No Smooth Sailing

France’s path to the semi-finals has been anything but smooth. Despite advancing past Portugal on penalties in their latest match, Les Bleus have been far from their best. Didier Deschamps has been forced into tactical tweaks throughout the tournament, including a notable change against Belgium when the diamond midfield was scrapped. Unfortunately, shifting Antoine Griezmann to an unfamiliar wide role in a 4-3-3 formation did little to resolve the team’s issues, leading to yet another reconfiguration against Portugal.

Mbappé’s troubles are perhaps even more pressing. His fractured nose, sustained in the opening game against Austria, seems to have hampered his confidence and performance. Coupled with a minor knee issue and the fatigue from a gruelling season at Paris Saint-Germain, Mbappé has not been the explosive force France relies on. His penalty against Poland remains his only goal in the tournament.

Deschamps faces a dilemma: should he continue to rely on a less-than-fit Mbappé, or should he take the bold step of benching his captain in favour of a more in-form player like Bradley Barcola?

  • Selection: Kylian Mbappe Top Goalscorer (TRACKED BET)
  • Best Odds: 17.00
  • Bookmaker: bet365
  • Stake: 1/10

Spain vs France: the champion behind the mask

Euro 2024, Semi-final, Tuesday, 9th July, 20:00 (UK)

Despite these issues, Deschamps appears set to keep faith in Mbappé. The coach insists that even an underperforming Kylian commands respect from opponents and forces them to adapt their strategies. Furthermore, the star forward’s leadership qualities have been on display, particularly when he rallied his teammates before the penalty shootout against Portugal.

France’s defensive solidity has been their saving grace. William Saliba has been outstanding, and goalkeeper Mike Maignan has been a pillar of reliability. This defensive prowess might be crucial against a Spain team that has shown remarkable form throughout the tournament.

Spain, however, faces its own set of challenges. They will be without key players like Pedri, injured against Germany, and defenders Dani Carvajal and Robin Le Normand, who are suspended. Nacho, who was expected to replace Le Normand, is also doubtful. This defensive reshuffle could disrupt Spain’s rhythm and provide France with the opportunity to exploit any gaps.

For Mbappé, this semi-final is more than just another match; it is a chance to prove his mettle as a leader and a superstar. His journey with France has been marked by incredible highs, including winning the World Cup in 2018 and scoring a hat-trick in the 2022 final. However, his current form has raised questions about his fitness and mental readiness.

The Mask is a Problem

Mbappé’s performances have also been affected by the protective mask he wears, which has altered his field of vision and diminished his confidence in duels. France’s hopes of reaching their third major tournament final out of the last four hinge significantly on Mbappé rediscovering his best form.

The semi-final against Spain represents a pivotal moment for the young captain. If he can overcome his physical and psychological barriers, France could well find themselves in another final, potentially against England.

Deschamps’ side has shown resilience and defensive strength, key ingredients for tournament success. While their attacking play has been lacklustre, the collective belief within the team and Mbappé’s potential to deliver a match-winning performance remain their trump cards.

As the French team prepares for this crucial encounter, all eyes will be on Mbappé, hoping that the man in the mask can rise to the occasion and lead Les Bleus to glory.

  • Selection: Winner and Top Goalscorer: France and Kylian Mbappe (TRACKED BET)
  • Best Odds: 23.00
  • Bookmaker: bet365
  • Stake: 2/10

Euro 2024 Outright Odds via bet365 as at 20:30, July 8th, 2024. Odds may now differ.

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