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Mbappé (really) gets the Blues out of the hole in Austria

Disappointing and clueless, the world champions snatched a draw in Vienna on Friday night (1-1) thanks to their star striker, who entered the second half.

Special envoy to Vienna

To glimpse a victory for the France team in June, it will still be necessary to go back. After three Nations League matches, the Blues have a sad record of two draws and a defeat after sharing the points on the side of Vienna on Friday evening (1-1). Yes the bodies are worn out, yes it is an aberration of the calendar to have so many meetings (4 matches in 11 days) in such a short time at this time of the season, yes the selection is deprived of executives (Varane , Pogba, Kanté), but the overall impression of Didier Deschamps’ squad leaves something to be desired.

Without Kylian Mbappé, thundering when he entered the game and a saving scorer, the Blues were heading straight for a painful setback. This is not the case, there is no fire in the blue house for all the reasons mentioned above, but this international sequence is akin to a real and long torture for the French collective. In the standings, after three matches, the French team, defending champion in the Nations League, is last in its group before finding the Croats, winners in Denmark (0-1). An observation that looks bad before finding the Dalmatians on Monday at the Stade de France.

By deciding to continue in 4-2-3-1 on the banks of the Danube, as against Croatia on Monday (1-1) and once again abandoning his system of three defenders, Didier Deschamps clearly indicates that without his three stars valid attack (Griezmann-Benzema started the match, Mbappé on the bench), his plan B becomes plan A. As for the match, what can we learn from the Blues’ performance? That there is a team with and without Kylian Mbappé. Everything but a novelty, but a confirmation, as the 23-year-old striker changes the face of a match as soon as he appears on the lawn. In the fridge since last Saturday due to a knee doubler contracted against Croatia in Saint-Denis, the PSG striker reappeared a short week later with an entry into the second half, to avoid a defeat which would have wrong kind for dented and clueless world champions.

A multitude of errors on the Austrian goal

During the first half hour on a decent lawn after the “hole controversy”, the defending champions spread calm, serenity and altruism, with the biggest opportunity to their credit by Karim Benzema, very close to opening the scoring with a header beautifully diverted by Pentz (18th). In such a situation, with a France team applied if not dangerous, the scenario was almost written in advance. An Austrian opportunity… and a goal conceded by the world champions. Great classic in a balance of power glimpsed hundreds of times. Following a multitude of bad choices, between Griezmann’s failed pass in midfield, the duel lost by Benzema, the guilty wait-and-see attitude of Theo Hernandez or the delay of Saliba, the Blues were punished by the Weimann’s opportunism (1-0, 37th).

Infuriating for Didier Deschamps, unhappy on his bench, after so many avoidable individual errors on the first real Austrian opportunity of the match. Happiness at the bar for the 44,800 spectators at the Ernest-Happel Stadion, delighted to shake the band at Benzema.

The “killer” Mbappé changed everything

The sequel was of the same ilk. Laudable intentions, but a cruel lack of realism on the French side, such as a fine strike from Benzema (43rd) or numerous flashes from Kingsley Coman (51st, 53rd, 56th), unstoppable on his left side and author of a full match on Friday evening but in the end too isolated or awkward in the last gesture. The entry of the ghost Kylian Mbappé, instead of Antoine Griezmann, disappointing (63rd), finally changed everything. From his first shots, the Parisian woke up his somewhat amorphous partners. Before getting everyone to agree, well launched by Christophe Nkunku, to register, full of composure, his 27th goal in selection (1-1, 83rd). Almost immediately, the Parisian could have doubled the bet and set himself up as a hero in the land of Mozart before seeing his shot end on the crossbar of a beaten Pentz (87th). Missed. Infuriating.

Last in their group, synonymous with relegation to League B of the competition, the Blues cannot be satisfied with such a record. Anything but up to their status. Before the holidays dreamed of by all, we will have to rise to the occasion on Monday evening. A matter of honor.


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