PARIS – France kept their hopes of staying in the top tier of the Nations League alive as goals by Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud secured a 2-0 home victory over Austria on Thursday.

Mbappe opened the scoring with a stunning goal before Giroud, who again showed coach Didier Deschamps he is more than a third-choice forward, sealed the world champions’ win with a header.

France, who travel to Denmark on Sunday, climbed to third in Group 1 with five points from as many games.

Victory came at a price, however, as defender Jules Kounde and goalkeeper Mike Maignan sustained injuries, and may join Karim Benzema, Hugo Lloris and Paul Pogba on the sidelines.

Deschamps was satisfied with the performance in front of an unusually enthusiastic crowd.

“We did what we had to do,” the 1998 world champion said. “Our intentions were good, everyone defended a lot, there are a lot of positives. The mindset was good, it was a very good performance.”

The hosts, who had lost two and drawn two of their four previous games, came out with all guns blazing at the Stade de France.

Mbappe fired a shot into the top corner in the second minute but the effort was disallowed for offside.

Aurelien Tchouameni’s attempt from just outside the box after a quick combination between Antoine Griezmann and Mbappe was tipped over by Austria keeper Patrick Pentz as Les Bleus piled on the pressure.

Last modified: September 23, 2022