Kylian Mbappe added a solo superb goal to his group, and Olivier Giroud came close to France’s goal-scoring record as the defending champions beat Austria 2-0 in the Nations League on Thursday.
Mbappe passed three defenders before scoring his 28th international goal in the 56th minute, before Giroud celebrated his call-up. With a powerful shot from Antoine Griezmann’s pass after 10 minutes, he moved to 49 goals – two goals short of Thierry Henry’s national record.
France has already lost its Nations League title But Croatia, Netherlands and Belgium – also played their penultimate matches before the World Cup in Qatar – Everyone won on Thursday to stay in the competition for the final of the Quartet of Nations next June.
The win also saved France from relegation from the first division in the Nations League, sending Austria to last place with one game remaining but with only one point difference between them.
Croatia jumped over Denmark at the top of Group A by one point after beating the Danes 2-1 in Zagreb with two goals from left-back Borna Sosa in the 49th minute and midfielder Lovro Mager in the 79th minute, two minutes after Christian Eriksen equalized.
The winner of Group A and relegation will be decided on Sunday when France travel to face Denmark in Copenhagen and host Austria with Croatia in Vienna.
The same applies to Group D, although the Netherlands are the favorites because they are three points ahead of Belgium and have a better goal difference. The Belgians need to win by three goals in Amsterdam on Sunday.
The Netherlands won 2-0 in Poland with Cody Gakbo putting the Dutch ahead in the 13th minute and teammate Stephen Bergwijn scoring the second goal at home in the 60th minute.
Belgium beat Wales 2-1 at home, with prominent midfielder Kevin De Bruyne and striker Michy Batshuayi scoring a goal in the first half. Striker Kieffer Moore pulled one back shortly after the break for Wales, who are three points behind Poland before their meeting in Cardiff.
At the Stade de France, defender Benoit Badiachel made his France debut alongside fellow Monaco teammate Youssouf Fofana, who lined up in the center of the field alongside Real Madrid’s Aurelien Chuamini – his former teammate at Monaco.
Mbappe’s early shot in the upper right corner was disallowed for offside and then missed an opportunity after a superb one-touch combination with Giroud. Chomini hit the bar with a superb overhead shot late in the first half.
Mbappe missed a great opportunity to score the second goal when he shot the ball wide.
Earlier, Spain-based winger Aware Mabil scored his eighth goal in 29 matches with Australia, as the Australian team beat New Zealand 1-0 on Thursday at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
And in the 32nd minute, Australian midfielder Jackson Irvine hit the ball in half of the ball for New Zealand and fed Mabel, who stomped around a defender and sent a long-range shot into the bottom corner of the net. Mabel plays for Spanish club Cadiz.
Far from flattering, to be honest,” Irvine said. “There are a lot of things we could have done better, but at the end of the day, a win is a win.”
It was Australia’s last home game before the World Cup in Qatar. The teams play again on Sunday in Auckland. New Zealand did not qualify for the World Cup.
Australia advanced to the World Cup for the fifth consecutive time in the final stage of the qualifiers after winning a penalty shootout over Peru in Qatar in June. The national team is in Group D and plays against France, Tunisia and Denmark.
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