France Secures Victory Over Austria with an Own Goal in Euro 2024 Opener

France edged past Austria with a narrow 1-0 victory thanks to Maximilian Woeber’s own goal in a dramatic start to their Euro 2024 campaign.

This tense encounter in Duesseldorf showcased the French team’s resilience, despite a challenging match and an injury scare involving Kylian Mbappe.

France Secures Victory Over Austria with an Own Goal in Euro 2024 Opener
Max Wober of Austria scored the game-winning own goal in Dusseldorf against France. Photo Credit: Sky Sports

France defeated Austria 1-0 in their opening match of the Euro 2024 tournament on Monday thanks to an own goal from Maximilian Woeber, but Kylian Mbappe was substituted with a cut nose in the closing moments. Seven minutes before halftime in Duesseldorf, Woeber deflected Mbappe’s cutback into his own net, allowing the French, who are among the top-ranked teams in the competition, to overcome a difficult test.

Under Ralf Rangnick, Austria has significantly improved, and their pressing style of play frequently caused problems for the 2022 World Cup runners-up, who saw Mbappe leave the field at the end after being injured in a clash. He had already let slip a glorious opportunity to give France a larger margin of victory.

Even if Les Bleus did not play at their peak, they will be happy to have won the match after a build-up that was more distracted by political rumors than by football.

In recent days, Mbappe and other French athletes have been in front of the media a lot, fielding questions on the country’s impending elections, which could see the far-right National Rally take the lead in seats.

Any mistake here would have suggested that they were not totally focused on the competition, given France is trying to win the European Championship for the third time, and for the first time since 2000.

Rather, the outcome puts Didier Deschamps’ squad in a tie for third place in Group D with the Netherlands, who on Sunday overcame Poland 2-1 in Hamburg.

The next match is between France and the Netherlands on Friday in Leipzig, while Austria plays Poland in Berlin earlier the same day.
Austria’s team is accustomed to playing in the European Championship since its coach, Rangnick, is German and eight members of their starting lineup competed in the German Bundesliga the previous season. The team had some remarkable results going into the competition, having gone seven games without losing.

But under the leadership of Mbappe, their captain, the French are maybe the most gifted team in the competition. Three years ago, he played in his only previous Euros and had a dreadful time, missing the crucial penalty in Switzerland’s shoot-out loss in the round of 16.

With his first significant opportunity coming up inside eight minutes of the game, the new Real Madrid addition will be perplexed as to why he did not score.

Mbappe, who enjoys cutting in from the left, was released by Antoine Griezmann and Theo Hernandez together. He shaped to curl a shot into the far corner, but instead went for the near post.

Patrick Pentz, the Austrian goalie, managed to save it, though. The Austrians got into the game and missed a fantastic opportunity to take the lead on the thirty-sixth minute.

Also Read: UEFA Euro Winners List From 1960-2020: A Deep Dive Into the Glorious Event

France Secures Victory Over Austria with an Own Goal in Euro 2024 Opener
France's Kylian Mbappe grabs his nose after getting hurt late in the match. Photo Credit: Sky Sports

Goalkeeper Mike Maignan stopped captain Marcel Sabitzer from scoring after he knocked down a left-wing cross from Michael Gregoritsch for Christoph Baumgartner. Two minutes later, France took the lead, and it proved to be crucial.

After Ousmane Dembele sent the ball to Mbappe on the right, the unfortunate Woeber headed his cutback into the far corner of his own net. Mbappe then produced a stepover to get to the byline.

In first-half stoppage time, Pentz stopped Mbappe from going around the goalkeeper, but it was nothing compared to the opportunity he missed ten minutes later.

Mbappe was sent off by Adrien Rabiot, who dashed in behind the Austrian defense, but with only the goalkeeper to beat, he managed to misfire on his attempt. With the game hanging in the balance, Austria kept trying, but in vain, to bring about a leveller.

Their supporters were not thrilled with what they saw as Mbappe’s late timewasting, as he required medical attention after he collided with Kevin Danso in the box.

After leaving the field with blood on his shirt, he returned and sat down, receiving a yellow card before Olivier Giroud took his place.

It’s likely that Mbappe broke his nose

Mbappe created the game’s sole goal and missed a fantastic opportunity to make it two, but his late-game nose injury raised the most concerns following the game.

Instead of heading the ball into the net during an aerial challenge, he made contact with an opponent’s head. When questioned later about if Mbappe’s nose was fractured, Deschamps said, “Probably, yes.”

“His nose is not good at all,” he disclosed. We’ll give it a look. Clearly, it’s the dark stain against the night. We find it really bothersome, even if it is just a nose.”

His substitution resulted from the injury, and he was booked for delaying play to make it happen. It’s unclear what the star player from France will do next at Euro 2024.

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