Home Sports League of Nations: the French team held in check in Croatia

League of Nations: the French team held in check in Croatia


With a completely overhauled team, 10 changes compared to Friday, the French team brought back a draw from their match in Croatia. Adrien Rabiot had however opened the scoring, but Andrej Kramarić allowed Croatia not to experience a second consecutive defeat in this League of Nations.

The France team ran out of air against Luka Modric’s Croatia and its hostile public, Monday in the sweltering heat of Split (1-1), resting all its executives, but chaining a second meeting without victory in the League of Nations . Without Kylian Mbappé, Karim Benzema or their captain Hugo Lloris, all sitting on a bench of five-star substitutes, the Blues thought they were performing the perfect operation after Adrien Rabiot’s opener (52nd).

Imperial Maignan in its cages

But a penalty conceded by Jonathan Clauss and converted by Andrej Kramaric (83rd) sent them back to their uncertainties, three days after the defeat against Denmark (2-1), already conceded after errors at the end of the match. And without the masterful parades of Mike Maignan (71st, 87th), the men of Didier Deschamps would have left the Balkans with a zero point.

With one point in two games, France is nevertheless very seriously complicating the task with a view to qualifying for the “Final 4”. It will be necessary to react on Friday in Austria, before welcoming the Croats on June 13 for the return leg.

A massive turnover

In Vienna on Friday, the atmosphere may not be as overheated as that of the Poljud stadium, the open-air lair of Hajduk Split, housed between the Mosor massif and the Adriatic Sea. This framework, unprecedented for France, gave ideas to coach Didier Deschamps, eager to “raise his head” as well as to preserve the organisms put to the test by the heat and an exhausting season.

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At kick-off, he only sent two world champions, Benjamin Pavard and Presnel Kimpembe, and only one survivor of the defeat against the Danes, Aurélien Tchouaméni. Mbappé, still embarrassed on one knee, did not even warm up.

A system change

Even the tireless Antoine Griezmann was spared at kick-off, a first in 22 matches, before coming into play for the last half hour.

But after eight matches in a row in 3-5-2, the most unexpected adjustment concerned the tactical scheme, with the return of the system of the World Cup-2018 final: seven defensive players and a four-man defense.

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