Kylian Mbappé’s late equaliser rescued a point for France after Andreas Weimann had given Austria a first-half lead.
Austria went second in Group A1 but could not hold on for victory as fourth-placed France hit back in the closing stages through Kylian Mbappé to secure their second point of the campaign.
Match in brief: Resolute Austria denied win by Mbappé
Austria had demonstrated their ability to punish generosity in their 3-0 win in Croatia, and Andreas Weimann pounced when he was afforded space in front of goal, slotting in Konrad Laimer’s incisive 37th-minute cross after Marko Arnautović’s trickery.
Karim Benzema came closest for France in the first half, repeatedly testing Patrick Pentz, who produced a superb reflex save to paw the Real Madrid top scorer’s header off the line.
France captain Hugo Lloris had warned that his side were under pressure after taking one point from their opening two group games. Kingsley Coman looked certain to ease the holders’ frustration during a gripping second half, only to curl a shot over the crossbar from close range after fashioning space inside the penalty area.
With his side dominating possession but struggling to unpick a determined home defence, Bleus boss Didier Deschamps replaced Antoine Griezmann with Mbappé shortly after the hour mark.
Weimann wheels away after breaking the deadlock in the 37th minute
Weimann wheels away after breaking the deadlock in the 37th minute.
The substitute rewarded the decision with seven minutes remaining, gliding on to Christopher Nkunku’s perceptive pass before racing inside the penalty area and lashing a finish past Pentz at the goalkeeper’s near post.
The holders pushed for a winner, Pentz turning Mbappé’s strike onto the woodwork. Austria held on for a deserved point, moving two behind section leaders Denmark.
Ralf Rangnick, Austria coach:
“Why do we play football? To have fun, of course. But it is more fun to win. We conceded two unnecessary goals against Denmark and France, both after set-pieces we had. I know we played well but there’s no reason to congratulate us when we were so close to three points. France were able to put us under a lot of pressure but, until the equaliser, they did not have that many clear chances. We have to recover quickly now, then we will try to take three points from Denmark.”
Patrick Pentz, Austria goalkeeper:
“I have to admit that we were a bit lucky. In the second half, we were lacking power. Kylian Mbappé is one of the best players in the world. His equaliser was a great display of his class.”
David Alaba, Austria captain: “I’m more disappointed than happy. Of course France had more chances, but we came so close. It was two completely different halves.”
Didier Deschamps, France coach:
“Three points would have been more than possible. It is a pity. Many of our players are exhausted but this is no excuse. I am glad that Kylian Mbappé was fit for 30 minutes; he is very important for our team.”
France striker Kylian Mbappé, speaking to TF1: “We did not win. we didn’t take what we wanted before the match. We will work to try to win on Monday [against Croatia]. You should never worry [about not scoring from chances], you should always be proud. I’m not 100% but if the coach needs me, I’ll be there. Afterwards, it’s the last match before the holidays — we can push a little.”