Time flies, in this infernal calendar where the stakes are intertwined. At the dawn of summer, Didier Deschamps crosses his fingers, every day, to avoid damage after the initial injuries of Raphaël Varane and Kylian Mbappé. Funny dilemma in this period when the preparation of the World Cup is well in the heads, too. Because the Blues have a rank to hold. Because the deadline is approaching. And because this League of Nations is really made for that. After two unsuccessful matches for this new edition, the Blues, defending champion, had an answer to give in Austria. They failed in this mission, but the rather unique power of a Kylian Mbappé yet on one leg was enough for them to save the furniture.
The Blues for a long time without an idea
All eyes were on the new faces of the evening. Called to the rescue following the departure of Varane, Ibrahima Konaté was to extend his refreshing speech with a first appearance in Blue, after a brilliant year at Liverpool. A little higher, Boubacar Kamara lived his first tenure after having grabbed a few minutes in Croatia. Les Bleus again presented themselves in a four-defender system, thus confirming that the 3-4-3 is no longer set in stone, which gives another perspective for the future.
🔚 The Blues come back with 1 point from Austria thanks to an equalizer from Kylian Mbappé.
Last match of the season on Monday against Croatia.
— French team ⭐⭐ (@equipedefrance) June 10, 2022
This impression of vagueness was confirmed during a rather winded first act, where the Blues did not do everything badly, but where they did not do enough – once again – to make the evening easy. There were some interesting situations thanks to the percussions of Coman and Diaby in depth, but the two tricolor wingers lacked precision in the last gesture to bear fruit on these beautiful individual differences. There was, too, this rather miraculous rescue from the Austrian goalkeeper Pentz on a close range recovery from Benzema following an indirect free kick kicked by Griezmann (18th), or this reflex of the same Pentz on a curled and sudden strike from Madrid (37th). So much for the good points column.
The problem is the rest. This game purring and without idea as soon as the Blues found themselves in sequences of attacks placed. Those heavy, dull legs, on every Austrian change of pace. These concentration swings on the depth cover. Austria did not offer anything revolutionary, but they were able to set a trap for these exhausted Blues with a game plan as old as football. With a good grid of the field, the men of Ralf Rangnick closed the spaces as much as possible while being relevant in their use of the ball on their offensive shots. It only took one, at the heart of the first act, for the Blues to crack: a point-blank recovery from Weimann on a center line from Laimer where the entire defensive line remained passive.
Mbappé changed everything
We had to raise our voices when we returned from the locker room to hope for something. The Blues got down to it, somehow. The scenario of the match called for a reaction. The band in Deschamps then offered a highlight, a real one, under the impetus of an untenable Coman on his side. The Bayern winger did just about everything with his swaying dribbles, but those huge differences didn’t materialize, as if to sum up his frustrating evening, like this curling off-hand shot. frame in an ideal position after a series of devastating hooks (56th). Installed in the Austrian camp, the Blues have multiplied the waves. Pavard tested Pentz, too (55th), without success.
We had to take out one last card. Deschamps therefore launched Mbappé. And everything changed, suddenly. In the heads of the Blues, of course, but also in those of their opponents, surely. Despite a logical waste given his record of service, the Paris Saint-Germain striker weighed like no other in a suffocating end to the match where he took care of almost everything. He equalized, first, on a marvel of deep call and a clinical strike from his bad foot, the left, to clean the skylight (1-1, 83rd). And he sent a new thrill in stride, but Pentz diverted his shot on the crossbar (87th). Man of this match, the Austrian goalkeeper performed a last miracle on an uncrossed header from Guendouzi (90th + 2). The Blues perhaps did not deserve better, basically. They will return to their setting next Monday to try to end on a good note. Before pulling the curtain. Finally.