Mbappe and Giroud push France into third place after Nation league win over Austria

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By Martin Graham | 23rd Sep 2022

France beat Austria 2-0 to maintain hopes of remaining in the top tier. Les Bleus are now third in their group with five points from five games.

It has been a dour performance by France in the UEFA Nations League, with the World Cup holders looking to maintain their prestige in the competition. Les Bleus have struggled to recreate the performance that saw them win the UEFA Nations League.

Didier Deschamps looked to end a winless run when they took on Austria on Thursday. The results have not gone the way of France, and they are staring at relegation from the top flight of the UEFA Nations League.

Things took a different shape at the Stade de France on Thursday as Les Bleus returned to winning ways in a comfortable win over a hapless Austria.

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France keep top-tier hopes alive

France hosted Austria at the Stade de France on Thursday in a UEFA Nations League fixture. The hosts came into the game without a win from four games as they managed two draws and two losses. It is not the credentials of a team loaded to the hilt with talented stars scattered across the world. The World Champions relegated the nerves and did what they had to do.

Les Bleus secured a comfortable 2-0 win over the Austrians. Goals from Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud did the trick for the troubled French side. The win should give Les Bleus confidence going into their final group game against Denmark on Sunday.

The victory sends France into the third spot with five points from as many games and now need to win on Sunday against Denmark to avoid the drop.

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How it happened

Before the game against Austria, France had drawn two games and lost two, making the game a must-win for the World Champions.

France stormed out of the blocks with all guns blazing. They did not want to leave any room for any unwanted circumstance. Kylian Mbappe thought he had gotten France off the mark in the second minute when he fired into the top corner, but VAR ruled it out for offside.

It was a warning shot for the Austrians, which they did not heed. Real Madrid midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni saw his attempt from outside the box tipped over the bar by Austria keeper Patrick Pentz as the pressure kept piling.

Some minutes after denying Mbappe, Pentz could do nothing, as the Frenchman broke the deadlock with a cool finish after beating five defenders following an exquisite pass from Olivier Giroud. The goal spurred Austria into action, and they took the game to Les Bleus but lacked the accuracy to punish Les Bleus.

France scored again as Giroud hit the back of the net in the 65th minute with an accurate header from a pinpoint cross from Antoine Griezmann. The goal brought his total for France to 49 goals, two shy of Thierry Henry’s record.

There were casualties for France in the game. Barcelona will be cursing their luck as defender Jules Kounde sustained an injury. He was also joined on the treatment table by Mike Maignan, bringing the number of injuries for France to five. Karim Benzema, Hugo Lloris and Paul Pogba are still on the sidelines.

Croatia stormed to the top of the table with a 2-1 over Denmark. A win for the Danes would have seen them seal the top spot in the group.

Croatia have to beat Austria on Sunday to qualify for the finals next year and book a Euro 2024 play-off place.

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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