Euro 2024: Kylian Mbappé and France aim to start with a win over on-form Austria

DUESSELDORF, Germany (AP) — World Cup runner-up France is one of the favorites for Euro 2024 and starts its campaign Monday in Dusseldorf against Austria. The Netherlands beat Poland 2-1 when the other teams in Group D met Sunday. Kickoff is at 9 p.m. local time (1900 GMT). Here’s what to know about the match.

Match facts

— France had a strong 2023 with eight wins from 10 games and only one loss, to Germany. Four games this year have already included a 2-0 loss — again to Germany — in a March friendly and a 0-0 draw with Canada last week in France's last game before Euro 2024.

— France's players have been speaking out on politics ahead of upcoming elections, with Kylian Mbappé warning against “extremes” and urging young people to vote in his pre-match news conference. Marcus Thuram earlier called on French people to “fight daily” to keep the far right out of power.

— Coach Ralf Rangnick has revitalized Austria since taking over in 2022 and turned down Bayern Munich to stay with the team.

— Austria comes into Euro 2024 on a seven-game unbeaten run with just three goals conceded during that time. A 2-0 win over Germany in November and a 6-1 demolition of Turkey in March were the highlights.

Team news

— France midfielder Aurélien Tchouaméni hasn't played since he missed Real Madrid's Champions League final with a foot injury. N’Golo Kanté played the defensive midfield role in France's two pre-tournament friendlies, his first international games since 2022.

— Austria coach Ralf Rangnick says his whole squad is fit. Defender Gernot Trauner was rested in training Friday.

— Attacking midfielder Christoph Baumgartner says Austria's attacking players will focus on helping out their defense by trying to put Kylian Mbappé and Dembélé under pressure.

By the numbers

— Mbappé is on course to play his 80th game for France and a hat trick would take him to 50 career international goals. Mbappé scored in France's last two games against Austria, a 1-1 draw and a 2-0 win, both in 2022.

— Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann will be only the fourth French player to make 130 international appearances if he plays against Austria.

— Austria midfielder Christoph Baumgartner has scored in each of the team's last five games.

— Germany is familiar territory for Austria's players. Eight of the starting lineup for its 1-1 friendly draw against Switzerland last week play for German clubs.

What they’re saying

“There is a situation that is even more important than the game tomorrow.” — France captain Kylian Mbappé on the political situation in France.

"In just one week he reminded us all why he was one of the best midfielders in the world and we are very happy to have him with us.” — France forward Marcus Thuram on teammate N'Golo Kanté's form after nearly two years away from the team.

“We know we’re taking on one of the favorites, if not the favorite for the tournament ... We know that we need to play at the very limit of what we can.” — Austria coach Ralf Rangnick.

“Now there's a very special tingling feeling once again, of course. The anticipation is massive.” — Austria midfielder Christoph Baumgartner.


AP Euro 2024:

James Ellingworth, The Associated Press