Austria 0 – 1 France

France kicked off their Euro 2024 campaign with a 1-0 win over Austria in Group D as a result of Max Wober’s own goal.

The Leeds United defender nodded past his own goalkeeper when trying to deal with Kylian Mbappe’s cross. Didier Deschamps’ team had chances to extend the advantage but, as with England, one goal proved enough to win it.

Austria came into the game having lost only one of their previous 16 games and appear revitalised under Ralf Rangnick, embracing his pressing style. It served them well for much of the first half and Christoph Baumgartner should have opened the scoring.

But France goalkeeper Mike Maignan denied him from point-blank range and Austria paid the price immediately. Mbappe got to the by-line out on the right and Wober could only turn his cross beyond his own keeper and into the net.

The lead at the interval allowed France to play on the counter-attack in the second half and that brought obvious danger for Austria. Mbappe should have doubled the advantage when he raced clear but could only measure his shot wide.

It was a tense finale because of France’s inability to find that second but Austria could not fashion a clear-cut opening. Rangnick will still fancy their chances of getting out of Group D. France, of course, will have much bigger aspirations.

Star player: Kante still has the old magic

There was a moment in the 85th minute of the game when Patrick Wimmer was racing through from deep that it appeared as if Austria might conjure an unlikely equaliser. The rest of the defence were beaten but not the magnificent N’Golo Kante.

It was typical of yet another superb performance by the great midfielder – typical of the work that he has been putting in throughout his stellar career.

A Premier League winner with Leicester, he repeated the feat with Chelsea and added a Champions League crown. With France, he has already won the World Cup and on this evidence, do not rule out the European Championship just yet either.

Now 33, many will have wondered what shape he was in having been playing his football in the Saudi Pro League. But the pace is still there and the experience vast. He retains that ability to sense danger and the physicality to do something about it.

Stats: Story of the match

So far in Group D…

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