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Mbappé marvels as Austria left feeling Blue in Paris

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France won their first match of the UEFA Nations League (UNL) 2022/23 campaign in a one-sided victory over Austria. The win gave Didier Deschamps’ side their first win in five matches, as final preparations are made ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

France had struggled to defend their UNL crown in the 2022/23 campaign with no victories in their first four matches. They almost got off to a perfect start but were denied a goal with less than two minutes on the clock when Kylian Mbappé’s goal was ruled out for offside. Austria found themselves at the mercy of an onslaught from Deschamps’ side in the French capital. He was, however, dealt another injury blow following a whole host of injuries in the build-up to the international period, as this time, Jules Koundé was forced off with an apparent hamstring injury. With no sign of the hosts’ attacking dominance concluding, Patrick Pentz incredibly prevented Aurélien Tchouaméni’s outrageous overhead kick from opening the scoring.

Despite completely dominating proceedings at the Stade de France in the opening half, Les Bleus remained exasperated approaching HT, as Austria somehow survived the half without succumbing to the attacking onslaught. As a result, the visitors began the second half in complete contrast to how they started the first, but once again, the hosts came closest to opening the scoring as Jonathan Clauss fired over the crossbar with the goal at his mercy.

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The visitors’ resolve was finally broken four minutes later when Mbappé displayed his world-class talent, running towards goal with five defenders around him, but he showed great composure before venomously striking past Pentz. A second goal followed less than 10 minutes later as Olivier Giroud towered above a statuesque Austria defence to direct a commanding header past Pentz to continue his renaissance in a Les Bleus jersey.

With the contest already decided, France remained relatively untroubled in the concluding embers as Les Bleus registered their first success of the current UNL campaign ahead of an encounter against Denmark on Sunday. Meanwhile, defeat for Austria ended Ralf Rangnick’s side’s aspirations of participating in the finals of the UNL next year, in addition to escalating Das Team’s chances of relegation to League B.

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