Austria 0-1 France: Les Bleus triumph in Euro 2024 opener after Wober own-goal

By Sports Desk June 17, 2024

France started their quest for Euro 2024 glory with a narrow 1-0 victory over Austria after Max Wober's first-half own-goal proved decisive in Dusseldorf.

The two-time European Championship winners had to wait until the 38th minute for their breakthrough, with Wober turning Kylian Mbappe's cross into his own net on Monday.

Les Bleus held on in the second half to earn Didier Deschamps his 100th win in charge of France, though there was concern as Mbappe received lengthy treatment for a head injury late on before being withdrawn.

Deschamps will hope Mbappe is passed fit after that issue as France prepare for Friday's clash with fellow Group D leaders Netherlands, who share top spot in the pool after overcoming Poland 2-1 on Sunday.

Deschamps' men settled into their seamless groove early on, with Mbappe racing clear of the Austria defence before seeing his effort repelled by the strong palm of Patrick Pentz.

Yet for all of France's dominance in possession, Austria remained resolute in defence and almost struck first against the run of play 10 minutes before the interval.

Christoph Baumgartner found himself unmarked inside the France box after Marcel Sabitzer's deft knockdown, but was unable to find a way beyond the onrushing Mike Maignan when rushing a glorious chance.

Just two minutes later, Deschamps' deadly attack showed their ruthless nature as Mbappe chopped inside before delivering towards the near post, where Wober inadvertently headed past the helpless Pentz.

Mbappe should have doubled France's lead after the interval but somehow fired wide when one-on-one with Pentz, leaving the Real Madrid-bound forward still waiting for a first European Championship goal.

Les Bleus remained the most likely to find a decisive second goal but Theo Hernandez's teasing delivery just evaded Antoine Greizmann before Marcus Thuram also went close.

Yet the battling victory was marred by the injury to Mbappe, who was forced off in the final minute of normal time after suffering a concerning blow to his nose when challenging for an aerial duel with Kevin Danso.

Mbappe's wait for maiden Euro goal goes on

Mbappe produced an influential display but was far from his clinical best for Les Bleus as his first goal at this tournament continues to elude him. 

The former Paris Saint-Germain attacker has now failed to convert any of his last 17 shots at the competition, in stark contrast to the 12 goals he has managed from 39 attempts at the World Cup.

His one-on-one opportunity in the second half had an expected goals tally (xG) of 0.6, second only behind Griezmann's opportunity (0.75 xG) in the area 11 minutes later. 

Aside from Mbappe, France were wasteful in the final third as a collective, registering just three shots on target in the contest from 14 attempts – underperforming their xG by 1.03. 

Austria down, but certainly not out

Ralf Rangnick's team can be proud of their defensive display against France's star-studded attacking line, with their fighting efforts seeing them make the most tackles (27) of any side at the tournament so far. 

However, their struggles against Les Bleus continued as Austria have now won just one of their last 11 meetings against France in all competitions, with that sole victory coming in 2008. 

Austria will still hope to replicate their last-16 run at Euro 2020, their best-ever finish in the competition, and face Poland in Berlin on Friday before concluding their group campaign against the Netherlands.

Related items

  • Atletico shift Saul out on loan to LaLiga rivals Sevilla Atletico shift Saul out on loan to LaLiga rivals Sevilla

    Saul Niguez has moved from Atletico Madrid on loan to Sevilla with the option of an extension after the 2024-25 campaign.

    Both LaLiga clubs confirmed the transfer agreement on Monday, with each side referencing the "possibility of an extension" past the upcoming season.

    The 29-year-old has started just 25 La Liga games across the last two seasons for Atletico, who are reportedly keen to reduce their expenditure on their first-team squad salary.

    Reports in Spain suggest the midfielder has a three-year offer from league rivals Sevilla, though a complex transfer means the deal cannot be described as a purchase option with the possibility of a return to Atletico.

    Saul made 49 appearances for Diego Simeone's men last season, though starts were limited as Atletico finished fourth in the Spanish top flight.

    He has been capped 19 times by Spain and made 23 appearances for Chelsea, his last loan spell in the 2022-23 season before returning to Simeone's team.

    Saul's addition marks the fourth arrival in Andalusia, with Arsenal's Albert Sambi Lokonga also loaned, along with moves for Chidera Ejuke and Peque Fernandez.

  • Ten Hag slams 'not good enough' Man Utd after surprise friendly defeat to Rosenborg Ten Hag slams 'not good enough' Man Utd after surprise friendly defeat to Rosenborg

    Erik ten Hag slammed Manchester United as "by far not good enough" after their shock friendly defeat to Rosenborg on Monday.

    The Red Devils suffered a late 1-0 loss at Lerkendal Stadion after Noah Holm's 93rd-minute winner.

    An underwhelming performance in their first pre-season game was in stark contrast to their last outing before that, a 2-1 victory over rivals Manchester City in the FA Cup final.

    Rosenborg were denied by the woodwork on four separate occasions while attempting 22 shots to United's meagre five.

    Ten Hag started the likes of Casemiro, Jonny Evans, Marcus Rashford, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Mason Mount, leaving the United boss somewhat furious with their efforts in Trondheim.

    "The result is not secondary. We play pre-season but at Manchester United, there's a standard," said Ten Hag to MUTV after the game.

    "You win games. Definitely, you don't lose games. If you can't win, don't lose the game as we did at the end, the last second of the game.

    "The performance is more important. The performance was below standard."

    Radek Vitek, United's 20-year-old goalkeeper, was forced into seven saves in a one-sided pre-season meeting as the only Red Devils player to impress.

    "Let's say he got the opportunity from the team to make some very good saves because our performance as a team is by far not good enough," Ten Hag responded when asked about Vitek's showing.

    "I have seen this is not the standard for top football. Top football, you have to achieve much higher standards. It starts with any individual, make sure you are fit.

    "I know we can't be match fit in this moment, therefore, you need these games. I know we are playing an opponent who are in their league, they have a much higher fitness level.

    "But still we are Man Utd and players and teams from Man Utd must perform better."

    Ten Hag's only credit from the game was placed on the youngsters who came on at half-time in wholesale changes.

    "They always listen, they try to transfer. We didn't succeed today," the Dutchman said of his younger players.

    "But the attitude, they want to transfer the coaching play model, they are always willing to do it. But it is clear today we didn't transfer it to the pitch."

  • Lionesses captain Williamson reminds Three Lions of successes despite Euro 2024 agony Lionesses captain Williamson reminds Three Lions of successes despite Euro 2024 agony

    England responding to their Euro 2024 heartbreak with success in the future will taste "even sweeter", according to Lionesses captain Leah Williamson.

    The England Women's star launched a staunch defence of Gareth Southgate's men's side after their 2-1 defeat in the European Championship final to Spain.

    Southgate's Three Lions are the first side in history to lose two consecutive Euros finals, while the England manager is the first to suffer defeat in two separate showpieces of the tournament.

    Having lost the Women's World Cup final to Spain last year, Williamson can somewhat relate, but reminded England supporters of the good times under Southgate, whose future remains uncertain.

    "Devastated, especially knowing some of them personally as well," Williamson told reporters ahead of Tuesday's clash with Sweden in qualifying for the Women's European Championship in 2025.

    "What Gareth and his team have done over the last three, four years, reaching finals and bringing that dream closer to reality, we are very lucky as fans of England, men's and women's, to be in the position that we're in.

    "They didn't quite get over the line to a fantastic Spanish team, I know they'll be devastated about it, it will take a while for them to get over it.

    "But us as a country, we've been blessed with incredible tournaments. And when those wins come, which I do believe they will, then they'll be even sweeter."

    England Women's boss Sarina Wiegman led her side to Euro 2022 glory against Germany before the agony against Spain the following year.

    Therefore, Wiegman knows all too well about suffering from setbacks.

    "Takes about three weeks, it took me three weeks to get over it," an honest Wiegman said on how Southgate and Co. will recover.

    "It's very hard ... when you have given your everything, then you hope you win and when you don't, you are really disappointed.

    "But then you start thinking: Okay, did we get everything out of ourselves? Did we do everything that we could that was in our control?

    "And then you have to accept it. It's easier to accept a win than to accept a loss but yeah, for me that takes it took a while."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.