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France 1-0 Narrowly Defeated Austria, but Kylian Mbappe Injury Overshadowed the Victory

by: EdwardB


France secured a hard-fought 1-0 victory over a determined Austria side in their opening Group D match at Euro 2024 on June 17th, marking manager Didier Deschamps’ 100th win in charge. However, the triumph was overshadowed by a potentially serious injury to talismanic forward Kylian Mbappe, who left the pitch bloodied and bruised.

A Hard-Fought Victory for Les Bleus

While the scoreline might suggest a comfortable win, France were far from their free-flowing best. They struggled to break down a well-drilled Austrian defense and relied on an own goal to secure the three points. In the 38th minute, Mbappe’s dangerous dribble past three defenders and subsequent cross caused Austrian defender Max Wober to inadvertently head the ball past his own goalkeeper, Patrick Pentz.

Despite the disjointed performance, there were positive signs for France. N’Golo Kante, returning to the squad after a lengthy injury layoff, was instrumental in the midfield, breaking up attacks and dictating the tempo. After the break, France showed more attacking intent, with Marcus Thuram forcing a good save from Pentz. Ultimately, while not a vintage display, the victory offers a platform for France to build upon in their upcoming matches.

Injury Concerns for Mbappe

The joy of victory was tempered by a worrying injury to Kylian Mbappe. The 25-year-old, still searching for his first goal in a European Championship, was on the receiving end of a hefty challenge in the closing stages, leaving him with a suspected broken nose.

Prior to the injury, Mbappe endured a frustrating night. He missed a golden opportunity to double France’s lead in the 54th minute, firing wide when clean through on goal. Following the injury, medics treated a bloodied Mbappe, and the referee showed him a yellow card for delaying his return to the pitch. He eventually left the field in the dying minutes, increasing concern about the severity of the injury and its potential impact on France’s campaign.

Kylian Mbappe Injury

Austria Impress Despite Defeat

Despite the loss, Austria put in a performance that will give them confidence for the remainder of the tournament. True to coach Ralf Rangnick’s pre-match promise, they went toe-to-toe with the reigning World Champions, deploying an energetic high-pressing system that disrupted France’s rhythm.

Austria came close to opening the scoring themselves just before France’s goal. Captain Marcel Sabitzer’s deft touch almost played in Christoph Baumgartner, but his shot was well saved by Mike Maignan. Although they enjoyed significant spells of possession, Austria struggled to create many clear-cut chances. Nevertheless, their committed and organized display will give them belief going forward.

Looking Ahead

With the victory, France joins the Netherlands at the top of Group D after the Dutch defeated Poland 2-1 on Sunday. Les Bleus’ next challenge will be a mouthwatering clash against the Netherlands, with both teams vying for control of the group. However, the biggest question mark surrounding the French camp will undoubtedly be the fitness of Kylian Mbappe and the extent of his injury.

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