France kept their hopes of staying in the top tier of the Nations League alive as Olivier Giroud became the oldest scorer in their history in a 2-0 home defeat of Austria.
Kylian Mbappé broke the deadlock in the 56th minute with a cool finish after beating five defenders following a perfect pass from Giroud, before the Milan striker scored a header from a pinpoint Antoine Griezmann cross four minutes later.
Giroud, who once again proved to his manager, Didier Deschamps, that he is more than a third-choice centre-forward, is aged 35 years and 357 days – 70 days older than France’s previous oldest scorer, Roger Marche, was when he netted against Spain in December 1959.
Victory for France came at a price, however, as the defender Jules Koundé and the goalkeeper Mike Maignan sustained injuries. They could join Karim Benzema, Hugo Lloris and Paul Pogba on the sidelines.
France, who travel to Denmark on Sunday, climbed to third in League A Group 1 with five points from as many games as a result of the victory. Deschamps said: “We did what we had to do. Our intentions were good, everyone defended a lot, there are a lot of positives. The mindset was good, it was a very good performance.”
The Croatia substitute Lovro Majer’s late goal sealed a 2-1 win against Denmark in the group’s other game, with his winner coming just two minutes after the visiting captain, Christian Eriksen, had struck a superb equaliser.
Borna Sosa opened the scoring for the hosts with a fine finish four minutes after half-time, but a moment of magic from Eriksen looked set to secure a point as he fired home a brilliant dipping shot in the 77th minute.
The relief was short-lived, however, as Majer picked up the ball on the edge of the box and rattled it past Kasper Schmeichel. Croatia now lead the group on 10 points, one ahead of Denmark.
Cody Gakpo scored early and Steven Bergwijn added a second to earn the Netherlands a 2-0 win in Poland.
Gakpo’s 13th-minute opener at the Narodowy Stadium came at the end of a slick passing move as the striker tapped home Denzel Dumfries’ inch-perfect square pass after the Polish defence has been prised apart.
Bergwijn doubled the lead in the 60th minute, coming in off the left flank to play a clever one-two with the substitute Vincent Janssen and curling the ball expertly into the net. Louis van Gaal’s side have now won four of their five games in League A Group 4 and are three points ahead of Belgium, who beat Wales 2-1.
Turkey and Luxembourg played out a six-goal thriller in League C Group 1, with Ismail Yuksek scoring in the 87th minute to rescue a 3-3 draw for the hosts, while the group’s other game also ended in a stalemate as Lithuania held the Faroe Islands to a 1-1 draw.