Euro 2024: France provides the essentials against Austria, but is worried about Mbappé

Euro 2024: France provides the essentials against Austria, but is worried about Mbappé
Euro 2024: France provides the essentials against Austria, but is worried about Mbappé
Group D. Austria – France: 0-1

The confidence that one acquires in a major international competition often comes from little and the devil hides in the details to appropriate it, or let it slip away. It could have been increased tenfold for the Austrians in this Euro if Christoph Baumgartner had managed to get the better of Mike Maignan, after a magnificent delivery from Marcel Sabitzer which placed his teammate in an ideal position, alone six meters away (36′). She chose France two minutes later when Kylian Mbappé overflowed on the right side of the area and his back cross attempted halfway up hit the head of the unfortunate Maximilian Wöber.

The Austrian defender deceived his own goalkeeper and as in 2021, the Blues launched their Euro thanks to an own goal from their opponent. It was the German Mats Hummels three years ago, also for a final score of 1-0. We wish the Blues to go further than the round of 16 this year and to better control penalties if they have to return there in some time.

A foot and a half in eighths

But when it comes time to take stock, perhaps in a month in Berlin on the evening of July 14, Maignan’s foot parade could count for a lot in the table of situations which changed the face of the French team in this Euro. As his determined exit at the feet of Baumgartner also reassured his defense ten minutes from time, when the French team managed without much certainty a small lead which suited them perfectly at the final whistle.

Jostled by an Austrian selection which will undoubtedly regret not having taken its ideas of “counter-pressing” to the extreme, for fear of the counter and the speed of the French attackers, without doubt, France took the three points, Monday, and thus confirms that the big guys are at the accounting meeting during this first day. Reading the new formula in place since 2016, with the first two of each group qualified, plus the four best thirds, it would take a cataclysm for the French selection not to go to the round of 16. But we will return to the certainties that one of the favorites for the title will have to emerge at some point in this tournament, who assumes his position as such in a dense competition which will move up in quality from the final phase onwards.

Mbappé concern

In an “Esprit Arena” in Düsseldorf adorned with blue (for France) and red (for Austria), without air conditioning this time two years after a cold World Cup in a hot country (!), Didier Deschamps won his sixth opening match of a major competition as coach. After 2014, 2016, 2018, 2021 and 2022, 2024 begins in the same way even if certain meetings of this ilk, often harsh in the proposed opposition, had been more consistent than that of Monday evening.

We are not asking the Blues to be flamboyant from the start and it is already good news to see them win while doubts have been expressed about their current abilities in recent months. They were not a steamroller during this outing in Germany (but that is rarely the case) and the first 90 minutes of this Euro confirmed that Dayot Upamecano and William Saliba will have to find complementarity in central defense when Kylian Mbappé missed what he never misses, arriving full axis against Patrick Pentz for a shot that he didn’t target (55′).

The captain of the French team wondered, on Sunday, about the fuel he could have in the canes. They seemed heavy, sometimes, unlike those of Adrien Rabiot and N’Golo Kanté, not far from being the two best French players on the pitch on Monday. The former PSG striker even finished the match injured after a nose collision with Danso and he was replaced by Giroud. Will he be put back for the next match, Friday, against the Netherlands? Nothing certain. What is a little more important, however, is that this question will animate the coming days.

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