Kylian Mbappe scored late to help France draw 1-1 with Austria on the road on Friday. This kept their slim hopes of making it to the final four of the Nations League alive.
Mbappe, who came on as a substitute after halftime, scored seven minutes from the end to cancel out Andreas Weimann’s first-half goal. His shot went into the top corner.
The world champions are at the bottom of Group 1 with two points from three games. They are four points behind the team in the first place, Denmark, which lost to Croatia 1-0 at home.
Austria is in second place, and Croatia is in third. Both of these teams have four points.
With three minutes left, Mbappe had a great chance to give Les Bleus all three points, but his shot hit the crossbar.
Didier Deschamps, the coach of France, said, “I’m disappointed that we didn’t score more goals with all the chances we had.”
“We sometimes score more goals with fewer chances, but that doesn’t worry me. I had to deal with small injuries and being tired.”
After a 1-0 loss at home to Denmark and a 1-1 draw in Croatia, Deschamps changed his team again so that he could give some key players a break at the end of a long, hard season.
He gave Ibrahima Konate, a center-back, his first cap, and Boubacar Kamara, a wing-back, his first start. Mbappe sat on the bench while Antoine Griezmann and Karim Benzema took the field up front.
In the 18th minute, Griezmann’s free-kick was deflected into Benzema’s path, but Patrick Pentz made a great save on Benzema’s header. Les Bleus had a good start.
But Austria scored first when Weimann tapped in Konrad Laimer’s cross from close range at the end of a quick counterattack in the 37th minute.
At the end of the first half, France had another good chance, but the great Pentz blocked Benzema’s curling shot.
As the visitors put more pressure on, the keeper was back to stop Benjamin Pavard and Kingsley Coman early in the second half.
Griezmann was replaced by Mbappe in the 63rd minute, and Mbappe immediately made a threat.
Just when it looked like France was out of energy and ideas, Mbappe took a short pass from Christopher Nkunku and beat Pentz with a clean, hard shot from inside the box in the 83rd minute.
After playing a one-two with Benzema four minutes later, Pentz deflected his shot onto the bar. He was close to making it 2-0.
Mbappe said, “That’s not why we came, but we’ll take that point and try to win on Monday.”
“Even though I’m not in perfect shape, I’ll play if I have to. Since this is the last game before the holidays, we can go a little harder.”
On Monday, France will play Croatia at home.