France drew 0-0 against the Netherlands without Kylian Mbappe as both teams took a step closer to the last 16 of Euro 2024 on Friday.

Ukraine earned an emotional comeback win over Slovakia while the returning Robert Lewandowski could not help Poland avoid losing to Austria and exit the tournament.

Netherlands hold France

Mbappe watched from the bench as an unused substitute in Leipzig, the new Real Madrid recruit forced to wear a mask in training this week after breaking his nose in France's opening game of the tournament.

Didier Deschamps included Mbappe in his matchday squad but elected not to risk his star striker, with qualification for the knockout phase largely assured.

Dutch midfielder Xavi Simons had a goal controversially ruled out for offside in the second half, while Antoine Griezmann, captaining France in Mbappe's absence, was guilty of wasting his team's two best opportunities to score.

Simons thought he had fired the Netherlands ahead with 20 minutes left but Denzel Dumfries was deemed to be interfering with France goalkeeper Mike Maignan and the goal was disallowed after a lengthy VAR check.

Poland, who lost 3-1 to Austria in Berlin, became the first team dumped out following the draw between France and the Netherlands in the late Group D fixture.

France play the eliminated Poles in their final group match on Tuesday. They are level on four points at the top with the Dutch, who face Austria at the same time.


Ukraine comeback

Ukraine's players shed tears of joy as the team playing in their first international tournament since Russian forces invaded in February 2022 came from behind to beat Slovakia 2-1 to move second in Group E.

Their first win of Euro 2024 also earned a message of congratulations from the country's president Volodymyr Zelensky.

Roman Yaremchuk came off the bench to hit the winner in Duesseldorf.

After a bruising 3-0 defeat by Romania in their opener, Ukraine showed spirit to fight back with Mykola Shaparenko levelling early in the second half following Ivan Schranz's opener.

Zelensky said "Way to go guys!" in a message on social media network X, saying the result showed his country can "take a punch and overcome obstacles".

"The players showed the spirit of Ukraine on the pitch and deserved the win," said coach Serhiy Rebrov.


Lewandowski ineffective

Poland are heading for the exit despite the return of talisman Robert Lewandowski from a thigh injury.

Lewandowski, who missed Poland's opening loss to the Dutch, came on as a substitute but could not help his team make inroads against Ralf Rangnick's sturdy Austrian side.

Poland striker Krzysztof Piatek levelled Gernot Trauner's opener, but Christoph Baumgartner restored the lead for Austria in the second half and Marko Arnautovic sealed the win with a late penalty.

After their second defeat of the tournament, Poland coach Michal Probierz insisted Lewandowski was fit to play.

"He was fully fit and he has practised with the team," said Probierz.

On Saturday, Belgium will attempt to bounce back from a shock 1-0 loss to Slovakia in their Group E opener as they play Romania in Cologne.

Portugal can secure a last-16 spot if they beat Turkey in Dortmund, while Czech Republic and debutants Georgia are searching for their first points in Group F as they meet for the first time in Hamburg.


Text inputs from AFP