Mbappé had a goal disallowed for offside in the second minute and Aurélien Tchouaméni came close twice in the first half.
The Real Madrid midfielder had a long-range strike fly just over the bar in the 12th minute, and just after the half-hour mark, Tchouaméni came close to scoring one of the goals of the year when his bicycle kick was superbly tipped onto the bar by Austrian debutant goalkeeper Patrick Pentz.
Just 10 minutes later, Giroud sealed the victory with a cute glancing header off an Antoine Griezmann cross. The goal makes Giroud France’s oldest ever goalscorer at 35 years and 357 days, as well as taking the Milan forward’s tally just two behind Thierry Henry’s all-time French record of 51.
Deschamps was bullish after the match about his team’s performance.
“We did what we had to do,” he said. “Our intentions were good, everyone defended a lot, there are a lot of positives. The mindset was good, it was a very good performance.”
And the former World Cup winner will need to take as many positives as he can.
Just a couple months out from the World Cup, the national side is missing a host of players including: Hugo Lloris, Rafaël Varane, Paul Pogba, Ngolo Kanté, Lucas and Theo Hernández and Karim Benzema. Things were made worse when both Mike Maignan and Jules Koundé were forced off in the match with injuries.
The injury crisis is only one of many problems facing Deschamps as he looks to retain the World Cup in Qatar.
Things have not been rosy on the field either. The Nations League champion had a dreadful start in its group in which it only mustered two draws and two losses in four matches prior to victory on Thursday.
A point ahead of Austria in the relegation zone going into the final game of the group, France will look to build on the momentum from last night’s match as it heads to Denmark who is only a point behind group leader Croatia.
The world champion has had a poor year so far, but if it can end its World Cup preparations on the pitch positively, maybe its problems off the pitch will fade as well.