Star France winger Kylian Mbappé will miss a chunk of time at Euro 2024 after breaking his nose. Reports coming out of Paris estimate he could miss the rest of France’s group-stage clashes and even a round-of-16 match.

Fortunately for Les Bleus, the France Football Federation confirmed Mbappé would not require surgery. Mbappé returned to the France team camp after hours of tests at a local hospital and will have a mask made for him as he prepares to play.

Regardless, the injury is a considerable blow for the France squad.

Mbappé nose injury comes at a tense time for France

Mbappé started the game up top for France in their Euro 2024 opener against Austria. It was a tense, physical battle, with fellow star Antoine Griezmann also suffering a head injury after an Austria defender shoved him into an advertising board. France only got the full three points through Maximilian Wöber’s own goal when he inadvertently headed a Mbappé cross into his net.

Mbappé, who missed several important chances against Austria, suffered a scary nose injury in the 85th minute. After Griezmann lofted a free-kick into the box, Mbappé, looking to get a head on the ball, smashed his face on the shoulder of a nearby Kevin Danso.

He stayed on the ground for several minutes and received medical treatment from France’s team doctors. He walked off the pitch gripping his bloody nose, his white French jersey stained with red.

After Austria illegally restarted play while France hadn’t made their sub, Mbappé, still gripping his nose, jogged back to the field and sat back down. The referee gave him a yellow card for unsporting-like behavior, allowing France to make two vital substitutions.

Team doctors say that Mbappé will miss France’s vital match against the Netherlands on Friday, and he’s a major doubt to return to face Poland next Tuesday. He will have to play the rest of the Euros in a mask, confirmed by both French media outlets and Mbappé himself, who asked for mask ideas on social media.

What are France’s options?

It’s a blow to miss arguably the best player in the world currently active. France will sorely miss his services at the Euros, especially because it seemed he was just getting started. It was his incisive dribbling and cross that caused the, of course, unlucky Wöber own goal.

He was one of the best players on the Merkur-Spiel Arena pitch. Electric on the ball, physical and creative off it. He showed his full range of skills against Austria despite the massive blown chance in the second half. France will still feel unlucky not to catch Mbappé at his full strength against the Dutch.

He started up top for Les Bleus as the starting striker, so France has several attacking options to choose from.

Manager Didier Deschamps could choose incoming LAFC striker Olivier Giroud, who started France’s pre-Euro friendly against Canada. Giroud is old — he turns 38 in September and will retire from international football after the Euros– but he’s still obviously technically adept and an amazing finisher. He scored 15 goals at Milan and can drop deep and spread the ball around to the wings.

Randal Kolo Muani is another choice for Deschamps. His chemistry with PSG teammates Mbappé and Ousmane Dembélé is a plus, along with his technical skill, agility, and versatility in attack. However, Kolo Muani is still young and had an inconsistent season in Paris.

Marcus Thuram is the other likely candidate to succeed Mbappé. The Inter striker scored 13 goals for his club and played well for France against Austria on the left wing. He’s agile and positionally intelligent, and his big frame makes him an ideal candidate to loft cross towards. However, he can be a bit wasteful in front of goal, and Deschamps might want to keep him on the left wing considering his positive performances.

Deschamps could move Griezmann up top from his No. 10 position. He could return to his familiar 4-4-2 shape and play two strikers up top. Whatever the solution, it needs to come fast before their match against the Netherlands. They will likely have to take three points from the Netherlands’ solid, deep squad to finish first in Group D.