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Euro 2024: Kylian Mbappé suffers bloody nose but leads France to narrow 1-0 victory against Austria

<i>Antonio Calanni/AP via CNN Newsource</i><br/>Romania's players celebrate during their victory against Ukraine on June 17.
Antonio Calanni/AP via CNN Newsource
Romania's players celebrate during their victory against Ukraine on June 17.

By Ben Church, CNN

(CNN) — Soccer superstar Kylian Mbappé played a vital role in France’s narrow 1-0 win against Austria in its opening Group D match at Euro 2024 on Monday.

The new Real Madrid forward showed his trademark speed and lightning quick footwork to create the game’s only goal in the 38th minute.

After skipping past a defender, France’s captain flashed a pass across the goal which was inadvertently headed by Austria’s Maximilian Wöber into his own net.

France continued to create chances throughout the tie but failed to add to its lead – the best chance falling to Mbappé who could only steer his shot wide when faced with just the goalkeeper to beat.

Despite dominating for large periods of the match, Les Bleus didn’t have it all their own way, with former Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick’s Austria standing up to the No. 2 team in the world.

But the Burschen couldn’t produce that moment of quality in front of goal and eventually ran out of ideas.

Mbappé finished the game on France’s bench, though, after the forward bloodied his nose during a collision with Austria’s Kevin Danso. In an attempt to head the ball, the 25-year-old’s face collided with the defender’s shoulder.

The Frenchman could be seen heading down the tunnel in the 90th minute with blood staining his shirt.

It was far from a vintage performance from France, with Mbappé’s moment of brilliance enough to secure a win against a resilient Austrian outfit.

The game continued a trend at this year’s tournament, which has seen multiple underdogs provide real challenges against Europe’s supposed powerhouses. Once again, though, the team boasting the higher quality talent eventually got over the line.

Les Bleus will face a tough test against the Netherlands in their next group match on Friday, while Austria bids to kickstart its campaign against Poland.

Group E: Belgium vs Slovakia

Twice, Romelu Lukaku thought he had scored for Belgium, but twice, the striker saw his goal disallowed as Slovakia staged an upset by winning 1-0 in its opening Group E match of Euro 2024.

The Sokoli had taken a surprise lead in the seventh minute through Ivan Schranz after Belgian winger Jérémy Doku gave the ball away in a dangerous position.

Despite the array of attacking talent on the pitch for Belgium, including the likes of Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne, the Red Devils continued to be wasteful in front of goal and were unable to find an equalizer.

Twice, though, striker Lukaku had the ball in the back of the net for Belgium, but the video assistant referee (VAR) saved Slovakia on both occasions.

The first attempt was ruled out in the 56th minute for a narrow offside, before a second effort in the 86th minute was disallowed due to a handball by Belgium’s Loïs Openda in the buildup.

In truth, though, Lukaku and his Belgium teammate Leandro Trossard had enough chances between them to get at least a point from the game.

Despite riding its luck at times, Slovakia still produced a brilliant performance which was well-deserving of the win.

According to TNT Sports, it was the biggest upset in European Championship history by FIFA rankings: world No. 3 Belgium is 45 places ahead of Slovakia.

Group E: Ukraine vs. Romania

Earlier on Monday, Ukraine suffered a disastrous start to its Euro 2024 campaign, losing 3-0 to Romania in its opening match in Group E.

Captain Nicolae Stanciu gave Romania the lead with a superb strike in the 29th minute, before second-half goals from Răzvan Marin and Denis Drăguș settled the exhilarating tie.

It was all going to plan for Ukraine in the early stages of the match. The team ranked 24 places higher in the world rankings than Romania was dominating the ball, but things soon started to go wrong.

Stanciu’s brilliant long-range effort seemed to throw the Blue and Yellow off their game and the team never fully recovered.

Romania, suddenly boasting a formidable sense of hope, doubled its lead shortly into the second half when Marin watched his 53rd minute shot hit the back of the net.

In truth, Ukraine goalkeeper Andriy Lunin could have done better with his save, but he let the powerful shot creep under his outstretched hand.

The Tricolorii continued to frustrate Ukraine’s attacking frontline and soon scored its third.

This time, there was little Lunin could have done as the brilliant Drăguș was left free in the penalty area to tap home from close range.

There was a flood of yellow at the full-time whistle, as Romania’s bench rushed onto the pitch to celebrate in front of the team’s traveling fans.

Ukraine struggles

Ukraine is playing in a major tournament for the first time since Russia launched its full scale invasion of the country in February 2022.

Before the game, the Ukrainian Football Association (UAF) displayed a piece of the destroyed stand from Kharkiv’s Sonyachny stadium in the streets of Munich, Germany.

The UAF said the stadium, used to co-host Euro 2012, had been destroyed by Russian troops in May 2022. The stand will go on a tour of Germany, following the Ukrainian team throughout its group stage matches.

Ukraine’s players looked sheepish as they trudged of the pitch at full-time, but will have the chance to kick-start their Euro 2024 campaign against Slovakia on Friday.

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This story has been updated with additional information.

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