France battle past Austria but Mbappe suffers facial injury

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DUESSELDORF: France delivered a 100th victory for manager Didier Deschamps as they edged a tenacious Austria side 1-0 in their opening Group D match at Euro 2024, but it came at a cost as talisman Kylian Mbappe suffered a suspected broken nose on Monday (Jun 17).

It was by no means a vintage performance and France required an own goal by Austria defender Max Wober shortly before half-time to secure the three points that put them level with the Netherlands who they face next.

However, three years after bowing out of Euro 2020 in the last 16 to Switzerland on penalties, France offered enough evidence to suggest they will go much deeper in Germany.

It proved a decidedly mixed night for captain Mbappe though, as he was left still searching for his first goal in a European Championship after some glaring misses and to add insult to injury then went off dazed and bloodied.

"He's got a really bad nose," said Deschamps. "We'll have to wait and see, the medical staff are dealing with it. We'll have to see what's going to be done and then how long it will take. It's very bad news for us tonight.

"Obviously, the French team with or without him, this is not the same thing. I hope he can be there," added Deschamps, whose record now stands at 100 wins, 30 draws and 24 losses in his nearly 12 years at the helm.

In his 80th game for Les Bleus, Mbappe's wing wizardry broke Austria's resistance in the 38th minute when he dribbled past three defenders and cut back a cross the unfortunate Wober could only head past his own goalkeeper Patrick Pentz.

But Mbappe wasted an early chance and a glorious opportunity for his labouring side in the 54th, surprising everyone in the stadium as he accelerated clean through on goal, picked his spot but guided his shot wide, responding with a wry smile.

Mbappe, whose missed penalty in the shootout against Switzerland three years ago condemned his side to a shock defeat, then took a shoulder to the face in the closing minutes as he tried to meet a cross into the Austria box.

He required treatment and was then booked for laying down again on the turf immediately after returning to pitch. He was immediately substituted in a chaotic ending to a match that was never pretty, but always compelling.

AUSTRIA PRESS

Austria coach Ralf Rangnick has promised his in-form side, with one defeat in their last 16 matches, would go toe-to-toe with France and they we...

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