France eases suffering off the field for the World Cup with comfortable 2-0 against Austria in Nations League

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

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

The Real Madrid midfielder had a long-range strike just over the bar in the 12th minute, and just after the half-hour mark, Tchouaméni came close to scoring one of the goals of the year when his bicycle kick superbly on ‘ the chimney was removed. bar by Austrian debutant goalkeeper Patrick Pentz.

The home side continued to dominate after the break, with Mbappé in particular at his sensational best – and it was the Paris Saint-Germain forward who broke the deadlock in the 56th minute with a powerful drive from just inside the box box after a French counterattack.

Just 10 minutes later, Giroud sealed the victory with a nice looking header from an Antoine Griezmann cross. The goal makes Giroud France’s oldest ever goalscorer at 35 years and 357 days, and also takes the Milan forward’s tally just two behind Thierry Henry’s French record of 51.

Deschamps was positive 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 a lot of 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 he can.

Just a few months from the World Cup, the national team is missing a host of players, including: Hugo Lloris, Rafaël Varane, Paul Pogba, Ngolo Kanté, Lucas and Theo Hernández and Karim Benzema. Things were made worse when both Mike Maignan and Jules Koundé were forced into the game with injuries.

The injury crisis is just one of many problems for Deschamps as he tries to retain the World Cup in Qatar.

Mbappé first raised image rights issues in March.
As recently as Tuesday, Mbappé refused to take part in a photo shoot with some of the team’s sponsors as part of an ongoing issue over image rights. The Paris Saint-Germain star was eventually placed and joined after being promised by the French Football Federation that they would investigate the matter.
This – along with the ongoing problems for Pogba, whose brother was arrested for allegedly blackmailing the Juventus midfielder – has put undue pressure on France ahead of a World Cup it will be among the favorites to win.

It hasn’t been rosy on the field either. The Nations League champions had a terrible start to their group in which they had just two draws and two losses in four games prior to Thursday’s win.

A point ahead of Austria in the relegation zone in the final game of the group, France will look to build on the momentum of tonight’s game when they travel to Denmark who are just a point behind group leaders Croatia.

The world champion has had a bad year so far, but if he can finish his World Cup preparations on the pitch positively, perhaps his problems off the pitch will disappear as well.