April 16, 2021

Nations League: the Blues suffer but win in Croatia, before a ‘final’ against Portugal in November

Promised to hell at the dilapidated Maksimir stadium in Zagreb, where 7,000 Croatian supporters were located this Wednesday evening, the Blues will have suffered throughout the second period but have nevertheless imposed themselves against opponents who definitely do not succeed not to beat them. Winner 4-2 of the last two clashes against Croatia, the France team has won tonight thanks to goals fromAntoine Griezmann and of Kylian Mbappé (2-1). Eager to take revenge after these two consecutive defeats – including a World Cup final – Croatia has missed the boat and still has not won once against France in its history.

Yet the players of Zlatko Dalić gave themselves the means to achieve their ambitions, despite a completely failed start, in particular by dominating the entire second period of the match. Enterprising in the game, like their defeat at the Stade de France in September during which they dominated the meeting, the Croats sought to destabilize a solid French defensive block, which only cracked once in a row. breakthrough of Luka Modric, whose center was deviated by Josip brekalo for Nikola Vlasic, which concluded the action of a sharp (64th).

A French team lacking ideas

Apart from this goal, the Blues will have suffered but without really trembling. Because the France team is a selection which defends better than it plays and which knows how to undergo the assaults of its opponents, Raphael Varane and Clement Lenglet feasting on the many centers delivered by the Croatian side. One of them will have found the hand of Ferland mendy (35th), holder as a right side tonight, which could have been worth a penalty.

Not varnished, the Croats claimed another a few minutes earlier on an intervention in the area of Corentin Tolisso (31st). Two contentious actions which did not push the referee, Björn Kuipers – deprived of the VAR -, to whistle, while the Blues could also have benefited from a penalty for an intervention limit of Domagoj Vida sure Anthony Martial (19th). And when the French defense was not attentive enough, it relied on Hugo Lloris, imperial point blank in front Ivan Perisic (30th) then on strikes of Mateo kovacic (86th) and Andrej kramaric (90th).

For their part, the French confirmed their difficulties in the offensive animation and the negative visual impression given by this diamond system that Didier Deschamps experiment in this month of October. The midfielder was certainly good – Adrien rabiot has made up for it after its very lackluster performance against Portugal – but the Blues lack creativity, risk taking, presence in the area. In short, this French team lacks ideas. The full-backs, an essential offensive piece in a diamond system, have only too rarely been found in a dangerous position.

Griezmann gets closer to Trezeguet

This was the case on the two French goals. First on the opening of the score of Griezmann, during the highlight of the Blues at the very start of the match. Well launched on the right side, Ferland mendy launched into a raid before crossing, before the ball returned to the FC Barcelona striker who shot Danijel Subasic with a dry strike under the crossbar (8th). The 33rd selection goal for Griezmann, who is approaching David Trezeguet and its 34 achievements.

Then in the second half, totally against the course of the game, Mbappé gave the advantage to the French (79th) with a superb discount of Lucas Digne after a nice opening of Paul pogba. The 15the goal in selection for Mbappé, who will not have been good tonight – the PSG striker notably missed a huge opportunity in the first half (15th) – but who had the merit of being in the right place in the right moment. The entry of Pogba will have done the Blues a lot of good, the Manchester United midfielder also obtaining one of the only French opportunities in the second half, a point blank shot well repelled by Subasic ( 77th).

With this victory in Croatia, the French team of Deschamps follows the pace of Portugal who won at home against Sweden (3-0). The two selections now have 10 points in this group 3 but the Seleção occupies the head of the pool on goal difference. To qualify for Final 4 of this Nations League, the Blues will have to win in Portugal in November, in what will most certainly be the final of this group.

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