KEIR RADNEDGE in DUSSELDORF: Kylian Mbappe cannot help making headlines. First he was confirming his long-anticipated transfer for Real Madrid then raising his voice against extremist agitation in the French parliamentary elections, prompting France into a 1-0 Euro victory over Austria and finally collecting a broken nose and yellow card.

Coach Didier Deschamps was not a happy man. He would have appreciated flashes of his side’s potential but irked at not enough of them, a lack of cohesion in possession and, ultimately, the state of Mbappe’s nose.

This version of France – albeit on the evidence of only their first Group D match – is of a work in progress. Referee Jesus Gil Manzano played out nine minutes of stoppage time. Much more and Austria would surely have equalised. France’s players embraced each other at the final whistle more in relief than celebration.

Mbappe is central to their campaign and Deschamps will need his captain’s focus fully on football. As the match ran on so concern lurked about the dangers of distractions. France have suffered more than enough of those down the years.

Footballers involve themselves in politics at their social media peril and of course Les Bleus have a particular history after the optimistic delerium which followed the Black Blanc Beur – white, black and Arab – home victory at the 1998 World Cup.

Ready for battle: captains Sabitzer and Mbappe

But Deschamps, captain in 1998 and World Cup-winning coach in 2018, is a pragmatist. He knows his most important attacking weapon is Mbappe and his own job depends on ensuring every single member of his squad maintain commitment to the job in hand. Certainly the Austrians will believe France were fortunate to escape with a win and that they had deserved a draw.

Mbappe started at the centre of attack – the role into which he may find himself initially constricted at Real Madrid – but was soon back roaming the flanks, It was in finding space out wide on the left that he created the first threat to the Austrian goal, delivering a powerful angled drive which was deflected for a corner.

France, for all their finesse, found Austria combative opposition, prepared to scuffle and scramble in midfield, pack back under pressure and break at pace when the opportunity presented itself – as in the 36th minute when Cristoph Baumgartner found himself with only keeper Mike Maignan to beat.

On that occasion Baumgartner’s blushes were saved by an offside flag. It had been a chance for Austria, however, and their failure to take it assumed a devastating price in the 38th minute.

Mbappe seized on sloppy defending, tricked his way to the byline and delivered a cross which lured Max Wober into glancing a header inside his own far post. Harry Kane could not have judged it better.

France’s captain should have extended their lead in the 58th minute after winning posession from Kevin Danso. He arrowed in on goal yet inexplicably curled his shot wide of keeper Patrick Pentz’s left-hand post.

Austria finally sparked into attacking life after a triple substitution. The longer they snapped away at French heels the greater their confidence grew, despite the superb efforts of man of the match N’Golo Kante, and Maignan was forced into a brave save at the feet of Baumgartner.

Players began going down like ninepins in the closing minutes. One of them was Mbappe who needed treatment for a broken nose, came back on to the pitch, fell down and was duly booked and substituted. It was an unfortunately unworthy exit. Deschamps’s 100th victory was one for lessons not the memory.