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Austria 1-1 France: Mbappé earns holders late point

Kylian Mbappé's late equaliser rescued a point for France after Andreas Weimann had given Austria a first-half lead.

Highlights: Austria 1-1 France

Austria went second in Group A1 but could not hold on for victory as fourth-placed France hit back in the closing stages through Kylian Mbappé to secure their second point of the campaign.

Key moments

18' Pentz parries Benzema header
37' Weimann finishes neat Austria move
56' Coman curls over from close range
83' Mbappé rifles in equaliser
88' Pentz palms Mbappé strike onto crossbar

Match in brief: Resolute Austria denied win by Mbappé

Austria had demonstrated their ability to punish generosity in their 3-0 win in Croatia, and Andreas Weimann pounced when he was afforded space in front of goal, slotting in Konrad Laimer's incisive 37th-minute cross after Marko Arnautović's trickery.

Austria goalkeeper Patrick Pentz makes a smart reflex stop to deny Karim Benzema
Austria goalkeeper Patrick Pentz makes a smart reflex stop to deny Karim BenzemaAFP via Getty Images

Karim Benzema came closest for France in the first half, repeatedly testing Patrick Pentz, who produced a superb reflex save to paw the Real Madrid top scorer's header off the line.

France captain Hugo Lloris had warned that his side were under pressure after taking one point from their opening two group games. Kingsley Coman looked certain to ease the holders' frustration during a gripping second half, only to curl a shot over the crossbar from close range after fashioning space inside the penalty area.

With his side dominating possession but struggling to unpick a determined home defence, Bleus boss Didier Deschamps replaced Antoine Griezmann with Mbappé shortly after the hour mark.

Weimann wheels away after breaking the deadlock in the 37th minute
Weimann wheels away after breaking the deadlock in the 37th minuteAFP via Getty Images

The substitute rewarded the decision with seven minutes remaining, gliding on to Christopher Nkunku's perceptive pass before racing inside the penalty area and lashing a finish past Pentz at the goalkeeper's near post.

The holders pushed for a winner, Pentz turning Mbappé's strike onto the woodwork. Austria held on for a deserved point, moving two behind section leaders Denmark.

As it happened: Austria 1-1 France

Johannes Sturm, match reporter

Austria's lead was fully deserved, Weimann putting them ahead following a beautiful combination that had its roots in ÖFB's aggressive pressing. In the second half, France created more and more pressure but could not find the recipe to truly break down their organised opponents. It was only after Mbappé entered the game that they finally found the equaliser — and they remain without a win.

Reaction

Lloris: 'We just lacked that final touch'

Ralf Rangnick, Austria coach: "Why do we play football? To have fun, of course. But it is more fun to win. We conceded two unnecessary goals against Denmark and France, both after set-pieces we had. I know we played well but there's no reason to congratulate us when we were so close to three points. France were able to put us under a lot of pressure but, until the equaliser, they did not have that many clear chances. We have to recover quickly now, then we will try to take three points from Denmark."

Patrick Pentz, Austria goalkeeper: "I have to admit that we were a bit lucky. In the second half, we were lacking power. Kylian Mbappé is one of the best players in the world. His equaliser was a great display of his class."

David Alaba, Austria captain: "I'm more disappointed than happy. Of course France had more chances, but we came so close. It was two completely different halves."

Didier Deschamps, France coach: "Three points would have been more than possible. It is a pity. Many of our players are exhausted but this is no excuse. I am glad that Kylian Mbappé was fit for 30 minutes; he is very important for our team."

France striker Kylian Mbappé, speaking to TF1: “We did not win. we didn't take what we wanted before the match. We will work to try to win on Monday [against Croatia]. You should never worry [about not scoring from chances], you should always be proud. I'm not 100% but if the coach needs me, I'll be there. Afterwards, it's the last match before the holidays — we can push a little."

Liverpool defender Ibrahima Konaté makes his senior debut for France
Liverpool defender Ibrahima Konaté makes his senior debut for FranceAFP via Getty Images

Key stats

  • Austria have scored in their last ten UEFA Nations League matches.
  • Ralf Rangnick's side avoided conceding the first goal for the first time in five home games in the competition.
  • France are unbeaten in their last seven UEFA Nations League matches outside of France, winning five.
  • Les Bleus have scored in each of their last 23 matches.
  • Mbappé has ten goals in his last six France appearances.

Line-ups

Austria: Pentz; Lainer (Lázaro 54), Trauner, Alaba (Danso 69), Wöber; Laimer, X Schlager, Seiwald, Sabitzer; Weimann (Onisiwo 64), Arnautović (Gregoritsch 64)

France: Lloris; Pavard, Saliba, Konaté, T Hernández; Kamara, Coman (Nkunku 79), Tchouameni (Guendouzi 63), Diaby; Griezmann (Mbappé 63), Benzema

Group 1 Live now

Played P Won W Draws D Lost L For Against Goal difference Points Pts
DEN Denmark
Playing now
4 3 0 1 6 3 3 9
CRO Croatia
Playing now
4 2 1 1 3 4 -1 7
AUT Austria
Playing now
4 1 1 2 5 5 0 4
FRA France
Playing now
4 0 2 2 3 5 -2 2

What happens after the UEFA Nations League group stage?

The four group winners in League A will advance to the knockout finals with, in principle, one appointed as hosts. The semi-finals will be played on 14 and 15 June 2023 with the final and third-place play-off to follow on 18 June.

The teams finishing fourth in the groups in League A will be relegated to League B for the 2024/25 edition.