Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud score in France win as Netherlands close in on Nations League final – summary | Soccer News
France kept their hopes of staying in the Nations League top flight alive as goals from Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud secured a 2-0 win at home to Austria on Thursday.
Mbappe opened the scoring with a superb goal before Giroud, who again showed coach Didier Deschamps that he is more than a third-choice striker, sealed the victory for the world champions with a header.
France, who travel to Denmark on Sunday, moved into third place in Group A1 with five points from as many matches.
The victory comes at a price, however, as defender Jules Kounde and goalkeeper Mike Maignan were injured, and could join Karim Benzema, Hugo Lloris, Paul Pogba on the sidelines.
The hosts, who had lost two and drawn two of their previous four games, came out looking great at the Stade de France.
Mbappe fired into the top corner in the second minute but the effort was disallowed for offside.
Aurelien Tchouameni’s attempt just outside the box after a quick combination between Antoine Griezmann and Mbappe was knocked down by Austrian goalkeeper Patrick Pentz as the Blues put on the pressure.
Defender Kounde became the latest victim of an injury-ravaged side when he limped off the pitch with a muscle problem and Maignan was substituted for Alphonse Areola at half-time with calf pain .
Mbappe, denied by Pentz after a one-two with Giroud, tormented the Austrian defense with his pace and created space for his teammates, Jonathan Clauss narrowly missing a goal early in the second half.
Mbappe broke the deadlock with a cool finish after beating five defenders following a perfect pass from Giroud.
This pushed Austria into action but they lacked precision in the box and it was France who scored again.
Giroud found the back of the net in the 65th minute on an accurate cross from Griezmann for his 49th international goal, two short of Thierry Henry’s national record.
The AC Milan striker was replaced by Ousmane Dembele to a standing ovation from the Stade de France crowd, leaving Deschamps – who only called Giroud up in the absence of Benzema – with a tricky decision ahead of the Cup November world.
The Netherlands are closing in on the Nations League final
Cody Gakpo scored early and Steven Bergwijn added a second to earn the Netherlands a 2-0 away win Poland Thursday and put them one point away from winning their Nations League group.
The unbeaten Dutch have now won four of their five Group A4 matches and are three points clear of Belgium, who beat Wales 2-1.
The Dutch only need a draw at home to Belgium in Amsterdam on Sunday to secure a place in next year’s four-team Nations League final.
Gakpos’ 13th-minute opener at Narodowy Stadium came at the end of a deft passing move, with the forward only needing to tap home Denzel Dumfries’ perfect square pass after the Polish defense was pushed aside.
Bergwijn doubled the lead in the 60th minute, coming from the left flank to play a clever one-two with substitute Vincent Janssen and curling the ball expertly into the net.
Victory was deserved by the Dutch, as their high-pressing play regularly deprived Poland of possession and allowed the visitors to dictate the tempo of the game.
But it could have been a different scenario had Polish half-time substitute Arkadiusz Milik not missed from close range after being set up by Przemyslaw Frankowski’s cross shortly after coming on.
It was Poland’s only clear chance, but Milik inexplicably put his effort into helping the Dutch to their first clean sheet in seven games this year.
Dutch coach Louis van Gaal surprised by picking 38-year-old Ajax goalkeeper Remko Pasveer, making him the second-oldest debutant in the country after Sander Boschker, who was almost 40 when he earned his only cap on goal against Ghana in a World Cup warm-up. friendly in 2010.
Van Gaal told Dutch television before kick-off that he was “intrigued” to see what Pasveer could add to the squad after a strong start to the season with Ajax, but the keeper had no much to do.
Croatia lead Group A1 with victory
Croatia substitute Lovro Majer scored a late goal as they beat Denmark 2-1 on Thursday at the top of Group A1, with the winner coming two minutes after visiting captain Christian Eriksen’s superb equalizer.
After beating the Danes in Copenhagen in June, the Croatians repeated the feat to reach 10 points in five games, one ahead of Denmark in their bid for a place in the Nations League semi-finals.
Defender Borna Sosa, who was born in the Precko district of Zagreb and learned his trade at local club Dinamo before joining VfB Stuttgart, opened the scoring when he entered the box four minutes after the break .
Despite Denmark’s attack missing for much of the night, a moment of magic from Eriksen looked set to secure a point as he unleashed a brilliant 77th-minute diving shot.
The relief was short-lived, however, as Majer, who replaced Mateo Kovacic after Eriksen’s goal, picked up the ball on the edge of the box and shook it past goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.
Elsewhere in the Nations League…
It was a busy night in Ligue C. In Group C3, Azerbaijan got a late win over Slovakia. They had been leading for much of the match and immediately responded to Erik Jirka’s equalizer to take the three points.
In group C1, Turkey came from behind three times to draw 3-3 with Luxemburg in Istanbul. Lithuania also drew 1-1 with Faroe Islands.
In League D, Andorra were 2-0 winners against Liechtensteinwith Moldova beat Lativa 2-1. Kazakhstan beat too Belarus 2-1, although Askhat Tagybergen was sent off late for a second yellow card.
Both Lithuania and Belarus are now relegated to Group D.