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France's Mbappe says broken nose a target in Belgium last-16 game

DUESSELDORF, Germany : France captain Kylian Mbappe will not be surprised if his broken nose is targeted in a tough physical battle against neighbours Belgium in the last 16 at the European Championship in Duesseldorf on Monday but is prepared to push through the pain.

Mbappe broke his nose at the start of the tournament but returned for France's final Group D game, and scored, in the 1-1 draw against Poland, wearing a mask he described as "annoying"

“I think that if you're playing with a broken nose and you haven't had your nose operated yet, you're a target,” he told a press conference on Sunday.

“I knew what I was signing up for when I decided that I wasn't going to go home and that I wasn't going to get the operation done and that I was going to play.

“And maybe I’ll get muscled a little bit and it might hurt. But I'm ready to give everything I can for this jersey and to help France go as far as possible.

“If this means that someone's going to hit my nose, so be it. It’s already broken.”

Mbappe, speaking to the media for the first time since the injury, said he initially feared he might miss the rest of the tournament.

“When I got the blow to the face, I didn't really understand what was going on. I didn't feel that my nose was broken. It was when I looked at the goalkeeper and I saw his face and I thought ‘something's wrong here'," he said.

"When I got back to the dressing room, with everything that was happening around me, I thought that I was going home.

“Initially, it was difficult for me because there was a lot of information, lots of appointments, I didn't really sleep that much. I spent two nights without sleeping.

"And it was really difficult to sit on the bench against the Netherlands (during France's second group