Croatia wins rematch and ends France’s dream in the Nations League

In a rematch of the 2018 World Cup final, Croatia beat France 1-0 today at the Stade de France for the fourth round of the Nations League group stage. The result — in addition to Denmark’s victory over Austria — ends any chance for the reigning world champions to reach the semis of the European tournament.

World runner-up, Croatia opened the scoring at the crowded Stade de France, in Paris (FRA), just three minutes into the first half, with Modric, from the penalty spot.

The result puts Croatia in second place in Group 1 of the League of Nations, with 7 points, two less than Denmark. France, on the other hand, is the bottom of the group with just two points added.

The combination of this afternoon’s results ended any chance for France to reach the semi-finals of the competition. With two games to go, the French team can only reach eight points, and is now fighting relegation. Leader, Denmark reached nine today. Only the first place in each bracket advances.

The League of Nations will take a break and return at the end of September. On the 22nd, France will face Austria; Croatia face Denmark. Three days later, the French play the Danes, and the Croatians face the Austrians.

But already?

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Modric celebrates Croatia’s goal against France in the Nations League

Image: Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Croatia silenced the Stade de France with just three minutes of play. Brekalo took a corner from below, Benzema made the cut. The referee, however, saw a penalty by Konaté in Budimir. Modric hit a cross and, even with Maigan’s touch, scored.


With a lot of exchange of passes and little inspiration, the course of the first half was lukewarm. France had Mbappé and Benzema out and ran into the consistent Croatian marking. On the other hand, Croatia bet on its defensive system and on a few speed runs. Goalkeepers Maigan and Ivusic were little demanded.

Benzema lines up; Mbappe passes by

Mbappé - Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images - Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Mbappé regrets in game against Croatia in the League of Nations

Image: Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

France came under pressure at the start of the second half and saw Karim Benzema make a beautiful move in the eighth minute. After a table with Mbappé in the center, the Real Madrid forward invaded the area, queued up, but took too long to finish and saw the Croatian defense make the cut.

In the next minute, Mbappé took a good shot from outside the area, on the right, and the ball went close to Ivusic’s post. At 14, the PSG star came face to face with the Croatian goalkeeper, who made a great save with his foot.

In trouble!

France complained a lot about a possible penalty on Digne in the 21st minute of the second half. The arbitration, however, saw legal dispute and ignored the revolt of the owners of the house. To make matters worse, Rabiot was punished with a yellow card for complaint.

Maignan saves France

Dominant in the second half, the French team almost saw their hope for a better result go down the drain. In the 26th minute of the second half, Majen received a free-kick at the edge of the area and sent a bomb towards the French goal. Goalkeeper Maignan made a beautiful save.

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