N'Golo Kante REACTS To Being Named "Man Of The Match" In France 1-0 WIN Against Austria In Euro 2024 Group D Opener.

N'Golo Kante reacts to winning the Player of the Match award in France's 1-0 win over Austria in their opening fixture at the ongoing Euro 2024 in Germany.

Kante who was a surprise inclusion in coach Didier Deschamps' squad for the tournament after being out of the national team set up for nearly three years, put up a sensational performance for France against Austria at the Merkur Spiel Arena on Monday night. 

The former Chelsea and Leicester City's midfielder was named in the starting line-up in a two-man midfield alongside Juventus playmaker Adrien Rabio ahead of Real Madrid's Champions League winning duo Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni, with some fans blaming the coach for that decision. 

Kante has been largely off the radar of European football since deciding to leave Stamford Bridge in favour of a move to Saudi Arabia last year.

The two-time Premier League and Champions League winner had last appeared in the France shirt back in June 2022. 

But the 33-year-old proved doubters wrong and let them see why Deschamps decision was right once again in their Group D opener against Austria.

Kante was everywhere on the pitch covering every bit of grass as he broke up play by occupying key defensive positions, got play moving forward with passes creating spaces through the lines and dribbled with the excellence that he was renowned for during his years playing in England's top-flight.

With Ralf Ragnick's Austria side playing a brilliant kind of pressing football against Les Bleus, it was only an own goal by defender Maximilian Wober which was forced by Kylian Mbappe in the 38th minute that gave France the desired 1-0 win.

Speaking at the post-match interview with TF1 after the game, Kante expressed his delight behind getting the Man of the Match award and also explained how it only extended his joy after being recalled by Les Bleus.

"Thanks, everyone! I'm delighted to be back, it's nice! I like to be with the national team...I loved it when the fans started chanting my name Thank you," Kante said.

“It was a bit difficult to start, with apprehension...It was good to start together, it was nice to get these feelings back. We started very well for this competition, and we’re very happy about this. This is great. It is the first time, and I wasn’t expecting it, and this is an honour...I felt very pleased. It was for a few minutes, but I have to say that it represents quite a lot. I’m very proud of that indeed,” He added.

Kante played a vital role in France's 2018 FIFA World Cup triumph, but all of that changed in the recent past when he fell out of contention for the national team.

With the narrow win against Austria which  highlighted how France can be shaky against consistent pressing play,  Kante is expected to retain the starting shirt in Les Bleus subsequent games in the competition ahead of the abundance of young midfield talents Camavinga, Warren Zaire-Emery, and Tchouameni, who is still yet to be declared fit to play.

France will play Netherlands on Friday, June, and Poland on Tuesday, June 25. 

On the other hand, Ralf Rangnick spoke to the media after Austria's narrow defeat: "We created chances. Of course, France also created chances. Patrick Pentz, our goalkeeper, did a great job. I have no reproaches towards my teams. They didn't always make the right decision, but let's not forget who the opponents were.

"We lost the match. Let's be fair, France had more chances and it was a deserved win. But until the last minute, we were in it. We put everything on the pitch. Now we have to look forward and try to win against Poland on Friday."

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