Friday, July 12, 2024

Austria 0-1 France: What Were The Key Talking Points As Les Bleus Open Their European Adventure With A Gritty Victory In Dusseldorf?

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, European Championships 18 Jun 2024

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While France might not have been at their best on Monday night, Les Bleus opened their European Championship adventure with a gritty 1-0 victory against Austria in Dusseldorf.

Despite struggling to create many clearcut chances against an energetic Austrian side, it was eventually Leeds United defender Max Wober who proved to be France’s unlikely hero.

Nodding into his own net just seven minutes before the half-time break, Didier Deschamps’ side would have simply been relieved to drag themselves over the finishing line.

Although attacking talisman and skipper Kylian Mbappe might have squandered a golden chance to double France’s lead 10 minutes after returning from the break, the European giants failed to find any kind of fluidity.

Austria’s best chance came just moments before France’s opener as playmaker Christoph Baumgartner’s shot from close range was blocked by the feet of Mike Maignan.

Although Ralf Rangnick’s men might have eventually fallen short in their bid to spring an almighty European Championship outfit, Das Team should take plenty of positives away from a gritty display against the former world champions.

On a night when France got their Group D adventure underway with three points, we have taken a look at the main talking points from Dusseldorf.

Les Bleus still seeking a clinical edge

Suffering major heartbreak out in Qatar 18 months ago as they relinquished their world crown to South American giants Argentina, France are seeking an immediate response on the major tournament stage.

However, although Les Bleus might have eventually made the decision to stick with Deschamps last year, there are some sections of France’s travelling support who still feel that a change in the dugout is needed.

While the European heavyweights might have opened their EURO 24 adventure with a hard-fought 1-0 victory here, France are seeking a recent clinical edge in the final third.

Signing off their pre-tournament preparations with a sluggish 0-0 stalemate against Canada in Bordeaux, Deschamps’ men have drawn a blank in three of their five appearances since opening the New Year.

Although the Blues might still find themselves pencilled in as a standout contender alongside England to get their hands on a first European crown since 2000, France will know that they must find a way to click through the gears.

Mbappe suffers a major injury scare

With it officially confirmed prior to this summer’s European Championships that Mbappe is set to become Real Madrid’s latest “Galactico”, it is no secret that the 25-year-old has plenty of pressure on his shoulders.

While France’s skipper might have failed to guide PSG to a maiden Champions League crown last season, the ex-Monaco starlet is pencilled in as a potential Ballon d’Or contender this year.

However, Mbappe was replaced in the 90th minute as an eventful night ended with him covered in blood after sustaining a broken nose after an aerial clash with Austria defender Kevin Danso.

With all eyes falling on the Red Bull Arena this weekend when they meet fellow European heavyweights Holland on Friday night, it looks like Deschamps will be unable to call upon his attacking talisman.

In what could prove to be a major blow for this summer’s contenders, Les Bleus officially confirmed that Mbappe will be undergoing surgery in Dusseldorf and is set for further medical tests.

Austria must take positives from defeat

While Austria might have been left hugely frustrated following the full-time whistle on Monday night, Das Team must find a way to take the positives away from a gritty performance in Dusseldorf.

Causing France a host of issues on either side of the half-time break and unfortunate not to have left with an opening point to show for their efforts, the Reds do appear to have turned a major corner under the guidance of Rangnick.

While some might have been shocked two years ago as Austria appointed the former interim Manchester United boss, they have gained a reputation for their energetic approach.

With Monday’s 1-0 loss just their second defeat across any competition over the past 12 months, Austria will still be dreaming of the chance to book a famous knockout stage spot over the next month.

Mustering 12 points from their final five EURO 24 qualifying appearances last year and gaining plenty of plaudits following on from a gutsy display against this summer’s title contenders, Austria will be next seen on Friday evening when they meet Poland for what is a must-win affair.

Match Report

Austria: Pentz, Posch, Danso, Wobec, Mwene, Seiwald, Sabitzer, Laimer, Baumgartner, Grillitsch, Gregoritsch

Subs: Wimmer, Trauner, Arnautovic, Prass, Schmid

France: Maignan, Kounde, Upamecano, Saliba, Hernandez, Rabiot, Kante, Griezmann, Dembele, Mappen, Thuram

Subs: Kolo Muani, Camavinga, Giroud, Fofana

Goals: Wober OG (38’)

Yellow Cards: Austria: Wober, Mwene, Laimer, Baumgartner, Danso – France: Mbappe, Dembele

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Jesus Gil Manzano

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan

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