Kylian Mbappe has claimed Olivier Giroud’s public criticism of his France team-mates following their Euro 2020 warm-up win over Bulgaria has affected the forward’s preparations for the tournament.
Giroud came on as a substitute in place of Karim Benzema at the Stade de France and scored twice in the second half as Didier Deschamps’ team comfortably beat Bulgaria 3-0 in their final pre-Euros friendly.
But despite the Chelsea striker’s performance, Giroud appeared to direct criticism towards his team-mates after the match for not providing him with enough service in the final third and for ignoring his movement.
“I was a little quiet because, sometimes, I make runs and the balls aren’t forthcoming,” Giroud said, “I am not saying that I always make the best runs but I am seeking to offer solutions in the box.”
Ahead of France’s opening Group F tie against Germany at the Allianz Arena in Munich on Tuesday, Mbappe, who scored the opening goal in their 3-0 triumph over Wales on June 2, responded to the forward’s accusations by criticising Giroud’s decision to make his frustrations public rather than resolve the issues with his national team colleagues.
Mbappe said: “It’s not what he said. Frankly, what he said doesn’t bother me. I’m a striker and it’s an opinion. He is expressing an opinion when he speaks. It doesn’t bother me.
“I’m a striker and I’ve had this feeling 365 times in a game and I will have it again, when you feel you’re not getting the service [of the ball]. It’s more about making it public.
“I congratulated him for scoring in the changing room, he didn’t say anything to me, and then I heard from the press. He didn’t say anything bad.
“He’s a striker, he wants to score goals, he’s near a record and when you’re a striker, whether you like it or not, it gets into your head. If he could have scored another goal he would have done so.
“But making it [the argument] public…I would have preferred to let him come and be even more vocal in the changing room. It’s happened to me. We have known each other for a while.
“You know what I am like in the changing room. If I have something to say to someone I say it. That’s not a problem but it stays in the changing room. But it’s not a problem, these are small trifles.
“And I don’t want this preparation, which has started well – because we have played some good matches – to be spoiled or for the squad to be affected because the squad doesn’t need this. We have some difficult challenges to face and we don’t need to create our own obstacles.”
Mbappe, 22, taking part in his second major tournament for France, also sent his good wishes to Christian Eriksen who suffered a cardiac arrest just before half-time in Denmark’s opener against Finland on Saturday. The game was temporarily suspended as the midfielder was taken to hospital, where he continues to be given treatment but remains in a stable condition.
He said: “We were in a training session. We were near the end of the session when the coach announced it to those who were taking free kicks and penalties. Hearing about it was awful.
“We are players and we know the stress that there is on the pitch. Frankly, the match then becomes unimportant. The players were very courageous to come back onto the pitch.
“The first thing I think of is that I hope he’s well and that his family and his dear ones are well because it’s such a difficult ordeal.”
France boss Deschamps has declared forward Benzema fit to face Joachim Low’s Germany after the Real Madrid striker, who was playing his second game for Les Blues after a six-year hiatus from the national team, came off with a possible knee injury against Bulgaria.
Antoine Griezmann has also been nursing a calf problem but Deschamps has said the Barcelona forward should also be available for Tuesday’s game.
After the eagerly anticipated Group F tie in Munich, the reigning World Cup champions travel to Budapest’s Puskas Arena to play Hungary on June 19 before facing Portugal, who beat France to win Euro 2016 in their home tournament, four days later at the same venue.
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