FRANCE'S FUTILITY CONTINUES AS CROATIA
The historic win knocked Les Bleus out of contention for the 2022-23 UEFA Nations League title just eight months after winning the previous edition of the tournament.To get more news about VeboTV, you can visit vebobd.live official website.
The warning signs were there for France from their first game of the competition, a 2-1 defeat by Denmark that, like Monday’s upset, came at home.
A respectable but still somewhat surprising draw with this same Croatian team on June 6 in Split — Monday’s game marked the fourth meeting between these countries since France’s 2018 triumph — was followed by a poor performance last week in Austria. Only a brilliant cameo off the bench by Kylian Mbappe was enough to salvage a draw.
Mbappe started this one but couldn’t save his team again. While the star-studded hosts ran the show for long periods — particularly in the second half, as they searched for the equalizer to cancel out Modri?’s goal — they were plagued by the same lack of sharpness and cohesion as in their first three June games. Of their 17 shots Monday, just four were directed on-target.
Nobody doubts France’s talent. This roster is arguably deeper and more experienced than the one that captured the biggest prize in sports four years ago. But they aren’t a better team, and they most certainly can’t rely on their résumés.Even before 2018, France and Croatia had a checkered history, despite the latter having existed in its current state only since 1990. Les Bleus also went through the Croats the other time they won the World Cup, in the semis in 1998. That was the first of nine previous meetings between the teams, all of which ended even or with France as the victor.
It would be wrong to think that the visitors got lucky in Game 10. France’s furious late push might have skewed the statistics in their favor, but this was a master class by Croatia. Their win was well deserved.After the World Cup, we undoubtedly had a complex against France," manager Zlatko Dali? admitted afterward. "Winning against the world champions at their place is extraordinary."
It wouldn’t have happened without Modri?. It wasn’t just his successful spot kick; at 36 years old and with 152 international games under his belt, the hard-running maestro continues to prove that he remains among the planet’s elite midfielders. The former Ballon d’Or winner, who claimed his fifth UEFA Champions League title with Real Madrid last month, put on a clinic Monday.
Not only did Modri? always make the right pass, but also his ability to be available as an outlet whenever his teammates were under pressure frustrated the hosts, who were desperate to get the ball back. He’s also a defensive workhorse, despite his reputation as an all-world attacking player.
For an athlete his age, who has won just about everything possible, achieving something for the first time is still special. It doesn’t come close to erasing that World Cup loss four years ago, of course. But in what could end up being his last career match against France, it’s fitting that Modri? walked away with the winner.Those matches suddenly loom large as players begin their summer break. Deschamps and his team need to correct whatever is wrong quickly or risk extending their record for futility at World Cups played four years after reaching a final.
After winning their first World Cup in 1998, Les Bleus famously didn’t score a goal in 2002. They also went out in the first round in 2010 after losing the final to Italy on penalties four years prior.
"There's no need to worry," midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni insisted after Monday’s shocker. "We’ll all be better come the next international window."