League of Nations: Beaten 1-0 by Croatia, France loses its title

Losing Croatia 1-0 in Saint-Denis on Monday despite Kylian Mbappé and Karim Benzema, the French side chained a fourth consecutive poor performance and relinquished their League of Nations title.

Doubts will accompany the Blues on vacation five months before the 2022 World Cup.

The months of June have never been very promising for Didier Deschamps’ blues outside of competition, but this final meeting of the 2021-2022 season, which ended under the whistle of the Stade de France, will nonetheless remain one of the most worrying.

With two draws (1-1 in Croatia and Austria) and two home defeats (2-1 against Denmark) in what was initially considered an affordable group, the balance sheet is rather frightening a year after the bitter failure at the European Championship and five months before he was in Qatar defended a world star.

Exhausted from their season, disrupted by injuries and destabilized by tactical tests, the Blues never found the momentum they needed to gain confidence ahead of the summer break.

This time, tiredness and physical disorders can no longer be cited as explanations from coach Didier Deschamps, who, after the first defeat in the Blues’ history against Croatia, risks thinking too long in the summer.

Danger of relegation

He only has two games left until the World Cup. These will be contested at the end of September and accompanied by the fear of an undignified relegation to the second division of the League of Nations.

Because with two points in four games, France can not only dream of the “Final 4”, which Denmark (9 points) leaves behind, but also has to fight for a last place that would deprive it of its seeded status for qualifying for the Euro 2024.

Just before the season break, Deschamps had nonetheless decided to give his two star strikers Mbappé and Benzema one last chance to shine, even if the first was ‘not at 100%’ while the second was from a spell in Austria (1-1) .

Madrid’s 90-minute game in Vienna on Friday made itself felt at the Stade de France three days later: the Ballon d’Or favorite appeared borrowed, a little less sharp than usual, and we had to wait in the 54th minute to finally get him in Slalom to see the opponent’s area.

The game has therefore inevitably veered towards Mbappé, who is back in the starting XI after ten days of treatment for a left knee ailment.

end of the series

Mbappé was certainly dangerous several times (7th, 55th, 61st), but was systematically blocked by goalkeeper Ivica Ivusic to the cheers of the 77,400 spectators in the Stade de France, ten days earlier against Denmark (1st 2).

The Blues had cracked against the Danes at the end of the game. This time they sank from the first minutes, frustrated by a slight stumble on Ante Budimir by newcomer Ibrahima Konaté (2 selections).

The penalty was converted by the inevitable Luka Modric (5th), who enraged Mike Maignan, who had already been beaten with that drill in the first leg in Split (1-1) a week earlier.

The Blues’ No 2 goalkeeper, otherwise impeccable, will have been unlucky during this rally where he will have accumulated more playing time than in the last 18 months, suspended by defending champions and captain Hugo Lloris.

The Blues have conceded at least one goal in nine of their thirteen games this season. And for the first time in 24 games, they didn’t find the error either, ending a record streak.

This tiredness was also reflected on the pitch, with a choppy match, numerous penalties and several clashes that reminded us that the two sides don’t play this League of Nations with relaxation.

From now on, all eyes are on the World Cup, worried…

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