France eases off-field woes ahead of World Cup with comfortable 2-0 win over Austria in Nations League


Kylian Mbappé’s powerful strike and Olivier Giroud’s trademark header were enough to leapfrog Didier Deschamps’s Austria to bottom of their Nations League group as the world champions look to avoid relegation in the competition after a disastrous campaign.
In front of a raucous crowd at the Stade de France, Les Bleus dominated from start to finish.

Mbappé had an offside goal disallowed in the second minute and Aurélien Tchouaméni came close twice in the first half.

The Real Madrid midfielder fired a long-range shot over the bar in the 12th minute, and shortly after the half-hour mark, Tchouaméni came close to scoring one of the goals of the year when he produced a brilliant bicycle kick. Austrian debutant goalkeeper Patrick Pentz’s bar.

The home side continued to dominate after the break, with Mbappé in particular looking at his best ever, and it was the Paris Saint-Germain forward who broke the deadlock in the 56th minute with a powerful shot from inside the area after a Frenchman. counter attack

10 minutes later, Giroud sealed the win with a beautiful header from Antoine Griezmann’s cross. The goal makes Giroud France’s oldest ever goalscorer at 35 years and 357 days, and just two short of Thierry Henry’s French record of 51 to overtake the Milan striker.

Deschamps was enthusiastic about his team’s performance after the game.

“We did what we had to do,” he said. “Our intentions were good, everyone defended a lot, there are many positives. The mindset was good, it was a very good performance.”

And the former World Cup winner will have to take as many positives as possible.

With the World Cup just a couple of months away, the squad is missing a number of players including: Hugo Lloris, Rafaël Varane, Paul Pogba, Ngolo Kanté, Lucas and Theo Hernández and Karim Benzema. Things got worse when both Mike Maignan and Jules Koundé were ruled out of the game with injuries.

The injury crisis is just one of the problems facing Deschamps as he looks to keep the World Cup in Qatar.

Mbappé first raised questions about image rights in March.
Only on Tuesday, Mbappé refused to take part in a photo shoot with some of the team’s sponsors as part of an ongoing dispute over image rights. The Paris Saint-Germain star finally came forward and took part after the French Football Federation promised to look into the matter.
That — coupled with Pogba’s ongoing problems, with his brother arrested for allegedly extorting the Juventus midfielder — has put unnecessary pressure on France ahead of a World Cup they will be favorites to win.

Things have not been rosy on the field either. The Nations League champions made a torrid start to their group, managing only two draws and two losses before their victory on Thursday.

A point ahead of Austria in the relegation places heading into their final group game, France will be looking to build on their momentum from last night’s game against Denmark, who are just one point behind group leaders Croatia.

The world champion has had a poor year so far, but if he finishes his World Cup preparations on a positive note on the field, perhaps his problems off the field will disappear as well.