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Euro 2024: France 1-0 Austria – Eventful night for Mbappe as Les Bleus make winning start

France captain tees-up the only goal, misses a one-on-one and is subbed off with a broken nose


France made a winning start to their Group D campaign but were made to work hard for it by resilient Austria in Düsseldorf.

Kylian Mbappe set up the only goal when he produced a devastating turn of pace before his cross from the byline was glanced into his own net by defender Max Wober seven minutes before the break.

Cristoph Baumgartner was superbly denied by France keeper Mike Maignan while Mbappe fired wide when clean through as his wait for a first European Championship goal goes on.

The France skipper left the field early after a nasty clash of heads left him nursing a broken nose but France held on to join the Netherlands on three points in the group.

Ralf Rangnick’s Austria had lost just one of their last 16 matches and made life hard for Didier Deschamps’ side with a performance full of energy and determination.

The 2018 World Champions began brightly and within minutes Mbappe burst down the left flank before firing in a low shot which keeper Patrick Pentz turned around the base of his near post and into the side netting.

Marcus Thuram slotted Theo Hernandez through on the left of the area on 13 minutes but his low cross-shot fizzed past the far upright without a touch.

Wober went into the book for lunging on the marauding Ousmane Dembele on the right flank soon after and then gave the ball away allowing Antoine Griezmann to drive forward before recovering to deflect his shot behind.

Austria grew into the game and pinched possession in the France half leading to Konrad Laimer’s first-time effort from an angle being gathered at his near post by Maignan before Phillipp Mweme was booked for another lunge on Dembele on 33 minutes.

Maignan to the rescue

Baumgartner came closest to breaking the deadlock after Florian Grillitsch’s curling cross from the left was knocked down by Marcel Sabitzer leaving Baumgarter with only Maignan to beat, though the Milan keeper got down well to deflect his shot into the ground and past the post, though the Austrians were furious not to be awarded a corner.

They were even more upset when the deadlock was broken just two minutes later at the other end when Mbappe picked the loose ball up on the right and produced a devastating moment of trickery and power to dart past Mweme to the byline before firing in a cross which Wober could only glance off his head and inside the far post.

Pentzy raced off his line to pounce on a ball at Mbappe’s feet after he broke the Austrian offside trap in added time but after the break Austria were back on the attack and Stefan Posch fired over from 25 yards.

After nearly five games without a goal in the Euros, Mbappe outpaced Wober to latch onto a long clearance and bore down on goal only to bend the ball inches past the far post just before the hour.

France were almost made to pay as Sabitzer went down in the box under pressure from Dayot Upamecano, only for his appeals for a penalty to be waved away.

Dembele cut in but lashed off target while Hernandez flashed another low cross from the left across the face of goal with Griezmann unable to slide in and get the decisive touch, and Jules Kounde’s curling follow-up was blocked.

Pentz parried away an angled strike from Thuram as the French pressure built and the Frenchman blazed high and wide after some quick feet helped him glide in from the left of the area.

At the other end Baumgartner was denied by the sliding Maignan and received a caution for his attempts to win the ball in the box while Laimer also went into the book for an apparent hand in Mbappe’s face.

Thuram could only fire straight at the keeper from close range after Eduardo Camavinga’s cut-back in the closing stages but N’Golo Kante needed to be alert to halt a break from lively Austria sub Patrick Wimmer.

Mbappe needed treatment on his nose after a clash of heads at a set-piece and after his departure sub Olivier Giroud missed his kick when well placed in the area deep into stoppage time.

France withstood a frenetic finish to tee-up their Friday night clash with the Netherlands perfectly, while Austria will face Poland at 5pm BST the same day seeking to get off the mark in Group D.

Picture of Alex Hoad

Alex Hoad

Alex has more than 15 years' experience in sports journalism and has reported on multiple Olympics, World Cups and European Championships in additional to Champions League, Europa League and domestic football.