Already out of contention to reach the finals despite winning the last edition of this competition, and winless in four UNL games so far in this group (D2, L2), coach Didier Deschamps appears to have some major problems to solve.
In an effort to do just that, Deschamps has called up three new faces in a bid to galvanise his squad before they head to Qatar to defend their WC crown in just two months time. The last thing France need is to enter the winter’s showpiece event on a downer, but six wins from the last nine internationals against Austria (D2, L1) could indicate a potential French revival here.
This game takes on added importance for Austria, who are realistically the only team France can catch in their bid to avoid a relegation, with Croatia needing just a point from a home clash with an already safe Denmark to secure their place in the top league next term. Should Croatia beat Denmark and Austria pull off an upset against France, Das Team would still be in contention for a finals spot going into their final group game.
With no WC appearance on the horizon after being knocked out in the play-off round by Wales (2-1), Austria can afford to put all their eggs into the UNL basket. Austria have Ralf Rangnick at the helm and may see brighter days in major tournaments ahead, but for now they will at least want to retain their League A status after their League B triumph of 2020/21.