Football fans had been waiting for the France vs. Croatia match in the League of Nations holding their breath. Since the French team performed so beautifully at the World Cup in 2018, everyone expected more from the team than ordinary football which ended in a draw.
But that’s life – no matter what you expect and what you hope for, anything can happen in every match. In any case, the standoff between the two teams was surrounded by guesses, forecasts, and bets.
Everyone was interested: those who wanted to get tips for successful bets and those fans who simply expected beautiful and non-standard football from two strong teams.
Many love football for its unpredictability, players’ agility, and intensity of emotions. You never know what kind of spectacle will unfold on the football field today. However, the spectators of the France-Croatia match had certain expectations, which, sadly, did not coincide with reality.
Is football for players or coaches?
So we have two leading coaches, who were doing anything and everything so that their trainees make it to the final of the World Championship in 2018. Didier Deschamps did an excellent job, but Zlatko Dalic didn’t do so well in this race. Today, however, outstanding coaches have completely different teams!
But this way it is even more interesting: fans wanted to see if the star coaches managed to gather around them the same strong athletes as they did once?
Things were getting more exciting, and the burning interest was also provoked by the fact that the Croatian national team had never been able to defeat the French. In the end, should there be a chance for revenge?
It is believed that the game is determined by its beginning. Perhaps the poor results in the first round made both teams’ players lose the enthusiasm required for taking over the League. Curiously, the games of the French and Croats took place on home territory.
But the familiar territory did not help: the French team lost to Denmark with a score of 1:2, and Croatia could not cope with Austria, noticeably falling behind and losing by 0:3.
Squad rotation and preparation of France
It should be noted that the coaching staff of the French team worked flawlessly. For example, the French coach even made significant changes in the team – the bench was fairly replenished. Perhaps this happened much to the surprise of Karim Benzema, who wanted to show himself in the game. However, the football player’s schedule has been very tight lately, so it was a smart move from the coach to hold Benzema back.
Kylian Mbappe, the highest-paid football player in the world, also joined Karim Benzema. Football bettors reacted to this news with a lot of enthusiasm. The mere name of a PSG footballer invokes a sense of danger and real fear in opponents. But fate played a cruel joke on the national team: the footballer was very recently injured in the first round of the match with the Danes.
Therefore, the Croatians breathed out with relief and were confident that the striker would not make an appearance at the game. But they were mistaken. Didier Deschamps unexpectedly let out Mbappe, despite his injury. But it was clear that the team was not in its best form without the two leading players.
Chronicle of the match: is Croatia the aggressor?
The Croats were aggressive in the game from the first minutes of it. It seemed that they wanted to start quickly and finish even faster. Croatia put pressure on opponents, attacked, and tried to keep the ball under control all the time.
The attacks from the Croats were also noticeable to the judges: the Croatian defender hit the leg of the French football player with great force. However, it was decided not to punish him harshly, and the defender got off with a warning.
France, on the contrary, did not seek to attack, did not show off aggression, and simply did its job. But was it good?
From time to time the Croats reduced their intensity, and at this time the opponents snatched the ball out of their control. It looked like there was going to be a decisive moment in the game for the French – but it turned out to be just a corner throw. Ante Budimir got so carried away and began to fantasize about how all the foreign media would write about him the next morning, that he frankly didn’t notice the moment for a successful goal.
The stands roared and supported the French. As if trying to ask: “Come on, who are the world champions here?”. The French desperately tried to break through to the opponent’s goal, and finally, they succeeded with a goal.
“I open at the close”
Just like in the famous Harry Potter franchise, the French also decided to open at the close of the first half. Just before the break, they were able to restore themselves and go to the break with at least a draw.
The beginning of the second half seemed to have shown that it is not worth waiting for a spectacular game that everyone will talk about. Here is the field, here are the players, they are trying to end the second half without loss. That’s all. The fans relaxed and seemed to even accept this. But then the French finally remembered who the world champions are and scored.
Moreover, this was done by a footballer who preferred to be in the shadows until 52 minutes of the match – Ben Yedder.
Vlašić alone against the world champions
The French suddenly felt their advantage. But they didn’t change their tactics: such a measured pace of the match was quite suitable for them, without any excesses and trying to outperform themselves. Those who came to see the team that once just tore Luzhniki apart must have been very sorry about the tickets they bought.
It looks like the Croats really wanted to be the ones who were able to defeat the world champions, so they played with maximum effort. The French fell to the hand, or rather, the foot of Vlašić, who attacked from the most advantageous position. Croatia went forward and the people froze with anticipation: is it really the turning point! Hey, Croatia! But one is not a warrior in the fields. Vlašić could not pull everything out on himself.
There was no miracle, no epic ending either – the match ended in a draw, which did not bring satisfaction to either the players, the coaches, or the fans.