France – Croatia: Feeble French Nations League Reign Comes To An Abrupt Conclusion (0-1)
In a replay of the 2018 World Cup final, Group 1's bottom two outfits sought to recapture the indomitability that defined their success. In the end, the toughness of the Croatians triumphed. Sitting in a deep block, they frustrated the hosts and ended their Nations League title defense.
Tactical analysis and match report by Emmanuel Adeyemi-Abere.
Will the French make good on their promise to take a stranglehold on the world stage? As old heroes fade and new ones explode, the nation unearths endless spades of quality. Yet, their displays on the pitch have not seized the imagination. Still sore from an untimely EURO 2020 exit at the hands of the Swiss, the reigning World Cup holders have eyes on guarding their status in Qatar. But if this Nations League points to what may be to come, they must soon work out how to make the most of their talent.
That window of opportunity might have eluded their visitors. Croatian cannot claim to have the same conveyor belt of talent as France, but their stars have graced the elite stage for most of the last decade. Though their midfield generals still wield the wile and craft to stamp their mark on the national stage, time is running out. The cogs failed to mesh on the path to a Round of 16 elimination last year, while their latest campaign has started slowly. So has a victorious trip to Denmark set alight this outfit?
Didier Deschamps introduced eight men off the back of a 1-1 stalemate with Austria. Captain Hugo Lloris dropped to the bench, making way for Mike Maignan, who made his second start and . . .