Austria 0 France 1: Wober own goal secures victory for Les Bleus but Mbappe ‘broken nose’ overshadows display

Austria 0 France 1: Wober own goal secures victory for Les Bleus but Mbappe ‘broken nose’ overshadows display

FRANCE were beaten black and bleu by Austria but battled through to being with a win.

Kylian Mbappe suffered a broken nose as Austria dished out a kicking but were undone by Maximilian Wober’s own-goal.

ReutersMaximilian Wober scored an own goal to help France to a 1-0 win[/caption]

GettyMbappe created the goal from a cross[/caption]

Both teams had the same amount of shots on target

It was not a vintage France display, Austria ensured that through their mixture of tough love and tireless work off the ball.

They could be a threat if they spend more time playing rather than brawling.

Didier Deschamps had joked that all of his players were handsome chaps ahead of their opener – and it seemed their opponents were intent on denting their good looks in Dusseldorf.

Ralf Rangnick’s men sought to kick lumps out of Les Bleus but were incapable of denying the French the perfect – albeit uncomfortable – start.

Rangnick had sounded confident of his side’s ability to muzzle Mbappe & Co by pressing France hard ahead of this one.

But it was just the second minute when the soon-to-be Real Madrid star was treated to his first kick of the evening – delivered by Bayern Munich’s Konrad Laimer.

Austria were not just being aggressive in their pressing, but their challenges too, chopping down France’s fierce front line whenever the chance arose.

It was working to an extent – the chances for the favourites were not free flowing, but they were not shut down altogether.

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Inside ten minutes Mbappe first sniff of goal, breaking quickly down the left and forcing Patrick Pentz, the Austria keeper, to tip the ball into the side netting.

Rangnick’s theory of stopping the French talisman, by starving him of service, was a sound one – but putting it into practice when faced with the Parisian can defy logic.

Mbappe does not dominate games in the style of Jude Bellingham, sucking all the action into his world and dictating from there. The forward hangs around, picks his moments and can be deadly when he intervenes.

Austria were making a decent enough fist of keeping him at bay down the left, but within moments of the No10 wandering over to the right he had played a huge hand in the opener.

After a clearance fell to Ousmane Dembele, who was also relentlessly kicked, he handed it to his captain and watched him set off.

Mbappe strode past Phillipp Mwene, already on a booking, with a quick step-over and change of pace, before cutting the ball back where a dumbfounded Wober headed into his own net.

The fact that it had come just two minutes after a golden chance for Austria – with Christoph Baumgartner denied by Mike Maignan – made it all the more painful, especially given France were awarded a goal kick despite the save.

Rangnick will have his complaints about the decision – but the fact his players were so poorly disciplined should be of more concern.

GettyMbappe was forced off with a horror nose injury[/caption]

AFPThe striker was shown a yellow card after returning to the pitch without permission[/caption]

But there was no sign of restraint after the break, as Antoine Griezmann was barged into the advertising boards by Wober within a minute of the restart, leaving him with a gash on his head.

Instead of winning fouls, Mbappe decided to start riding the challenges and should have made it two shortly after the restart.

After Adrien Rabiot lumped the ball forwards, Mbappe evaded Kevin Danso’s desperate lunge before exploding past Wober to go one-on-one. That appeared to be it, until he unfathomably bent the effort just wide.

The left off was enough – Rangnick withdrew Wober while also sending on Marko Arnautovic.

When Austria ditched the martial arts and started playing football, they looked a side who could cause problems, ballers and not just bruisers.

Their anger at Spanish ref, Jesus Gil Manzano, was increased when Marcel Sabizter was smartly played into the box only to be barged down by William Saliba. Manzano waved away all penalty protests.

But even when they started playing pretty football there was still an edge, Baumgartner sliding to strike Laimer’s smart through ball only to plant his boot in Maignan’s face.

Laimer then went back to roughing up Mbappe, planting a hand in his face as the winger looked to move into the box – it was soft but cynical.

Mbappe and the whole of France then really had something to worry about when their skipper bent his nose out of shape following a clash of heads with Danso.

French hopes may rest on whether he can continue with a mask in the coming games.

He will not be the only Frenchman nursing bumps and bruises this morning.

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