World champions France draw against Croatia at the UEFA Nations League

(Football news) It was a rematch between the finalists of the 2018 World Cup but this time around, a reshuffled France could only muster a disappointing 1-1 draw against Croatia at Stadion Poljud in their second UEFA Nations League match, having already lost to Denmark 2-1. Les Bleus took the lead through Adrian Rabiot early in the second half (52nd minute) but a late equaliser from the spot by Andrej Kramaric in the 83rd minute restored parity for the hosts in what was a well deserved draw. 

Following the death of his father, France head coach Didier Deschamps was back on the sidelines. Speaking after the match, the 53 year old said “We did good things considering all the changes. We were ahead and could have scored more but it's a pity we gifted them the equaliser. It was, however, a coherent performance. They barely threatened in the second half. The result is not satisfying and even if it's a competitive game our goal is to prepare for (the World Cup at) the end of the year." 

Croatia made the better start after the kickoff but it was France’s Christopher Nkunku who was denied a goal after being offside as the visitors slowly grew into the game and began to assert their dominance. Deschamps’ tactics were to apply pressure on Croatia’s left flank and it almost paid dividends when Moussa Diaby came close to breaking the deadlock just before half-time while a venomous shot by Aurelien Tchouameni was parried away by Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic. 

Eventually, France’s persistence paid off and Adrian Rabiot scored the opening goal in the 52nd minute after receiving a through ball from Wissam Ben Yedder and finding the back of the net to score his second international goal of his career. However, the joy was short-lived as French substitute Jonathan Clauss brought down Croatia’s Andrej Kramaric in the penalty area and the 30 year old duly converted from the spot after sending Mike Maignan the wrong way. The hosts had an opportunity to win the match through Kramaric again but the attacking midfielder failed to beat Maignan this time, resulting in both the teams sharing the spoils.

Also read: Wales defeat Ukraine to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar


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