LEAGUE OF NATIONS – Beaten by Croatia, France sees its title fly away - DALTONHURD

LEAGUE OF NATIONS – Beaten by Croatia, France sees its title fly away

A month of June to forget for the France team. Unfortunately, the Blues did not have the expected reaction in the last game of their season. In a packed Stade de France, the men of Didier Deschamps, without juice or idea, foiled against a far too disciplined Croatia (0-1). A generous penalty, transformed by Luka Modric, was enough for the Croats to win against France for the first time in their history. The Blues, defending champions, have a fourth unsuccessful meeting in this League of Nations and, last in group A, can already say goodbye to the Big Four.

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The Blues experienced an end to the season in blood sausage. With Kylian Mbappé at kick-off, there was nevertheless hope of ending on a good note. Alas, Croatia did not agree to help France to revive. The plan was even perfect for Zlatko Dalic players. The referee quickly whistled a slight touch from Ibrahimi Konaté on Ante Budimir in the box, and Mike Maignan could only touch the powerful strike from Luka Modric (0-1, 5th). Subsequently, the Croats applied themselves to defending the lead and relied on their dominating midfielder, composed of Modric, Kovacic and Brozovic, to break the rhythm with endless possession phases. Tactically, it was very clever.

Not a Benzema of the big nights

The France team will not be able to line up behind this very severe penalty to justify this new rout. Because it will be difficult to say that she did what was necessary to turn the tide or, at least, give the impression of a semblance of revolt. In the first period, the Blues lacked aggressiveness, unable to exert sustained pressure. They didn’t show a mad desire either, preventing them from finding real solutions in the face of a block too well in place to crack easily. And when Mbappé embarked on a one man show, he was perfectly muzzled. In his defense, he could not count on a great night Karim Benzema. The Real Madrid striker was already on vacation.

“Collectively and individually, there are almost no positive points to take away”

Like Benzema, the Blues had no juice to respond to adversity. There was still better after the break, as evidenced by about twenty minutes during which the Croats were a little more cornered and less in control. But, too serene, they continued to turn their backs, also relying on a few decisive interventions from Ivica Ivusic. The Croatia goalkeeper notably released a fine shot from Mbappé with his fingertips (55th), closed his angle well, still facing the PSG star (61st), and even prevented a goal against his side in the last seconds (90th+4). For France, it was in any case insufficient to hope for better and, by extension, to harbor some regrets.

It will probably not be necessary to worry too much for these Blues, who could not rest on a stable eleven during this rally from which we will not remember much, except the probable return to the defense at four. It will still be imperative to finish this group stage of the League of Nations well to avoid last place, synonymous with relegation to League B. Croatia, which had never beaten France in nine confrontations, is still in the running for a place in the Big Four. The ticket will be played a priori against Denmark, in the lead with two points in advance after four disputed days.

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