Mbappé injury ‘big negative’ for France in win over Austria

France manager called star striker Kylian Mbappé‘s exit with a suspected broken nose late in their 1-0 win over Austria at the European Championship on Monday “a big negative.”

The striker, involved in the first-half goal, clashed heads with Austria’s Kevin Danso late in the Group D game at Dusseldorf Arena. He was in obvious pain as he lay curled on the grass, prompting Austria goalkeeper Patrick Pentz to signal for medical attention.

“[His] nose is not good at all. Even if it’s just the nose, it’s the big negative point for us tonight,” manager Didier Deschamps said after the game.

Mbappé received treatment and his shirt was covered with blood from what appeared to be a blow to his nose. He tried to play on but quickly fell to the ground, holding his face and prompting whistles and jeers from Austria’s fans, who seemed to believe he was time-wasting as France held on for the win.

He was booked by referee Jesus Gil Manzano and replaced by Olivier Giroud.

France needed an own goal from Maximilian Wober in the 38th minute and handed Deschamps his 100th victory as national team coach.

“Happy with what the players did even if we missed opportunities to double the tally,” Deschamps said. “It was not perfect but we were solid. We could have been more efficient offensively but it’s good to start with a win.

“There’s quality and talent but being solid and working together is also important. We’re not going to be over-confident, but it’s a good start.”

On a mixed day for Mbappé, it was his moment of inspiration that led to the decisive goal. With a flash of close-ball control, he beat Phillipp Mwene in the box and crossed in search of a teammate. In Wober’s desperation to cut out the danger, he inadvertently diverted the ball into his own net.

Mbappé was then guilty of a remarkable miss 10 minutes into the second half when failing to hit the target from close range with only the keeper to beat.

Bursting through on goal, he was too fast for Wober and had time to steady himself in the box before picking his spot. With France fans behind the goal just waiting for the net to bulge, Mbappé’s shot instead curled past the post to the relief of the Austrians.

For all their graft and possession Austria struggled to create many clear chances as France’s returning N’Golo Kante fully justified his return to the squad with a masterful display at the heart of midfield.

“It starts well. Everything was not perfect but we have the result we wanted, this is a good start,” Kante said. “There are solid foundations, we have to be more efficient.

“It makes me happy to be back. Things have changed, makes it feels good to get back into this jersey.”