Published on : 08/09/2020 – 18:36
The Blues beat Croatia 4-2 at the Stade de France on Tuesday, on the second day of the League of Nations. Overwhelmed by events but realistic in the first half, they were more reassuring thereafter.
The Blues replayed the 2018 World Cup final against Croatia on the lawn of the Stade de France. They won, Tuesday, September 8, 4-2 against Perisic’s teammates, offering the Croats a new lesson in realism in this match counting for the second day of the League of Nations.
The start of the match was however to the advantage of the Croats. Led by their captain Perisic back with the Croatian selection, they multiply the hits on the French defense. And do not take long to open the scoring. On a badly repelled corner, the former Lyon Lovren controls the ball at the far post, hooks Lucas Hernandez and deceives Hugo Lloris with a cross shot from the left (17th, 0-1).
Like against Sweden the previous weekend, the Blues seem paralyzed and lacking ideas. The closed door because of Covid-19 does not help the French to transcend themselves even if it allows to admire the leadership of Captain Lloris who constantly encourages and replaces his teammates on the field.
The latter leave far too much space for the opposing attackers who, on multiple occasions, escape behind the three defense Lenglet-Hernandez-Upamecano. It takes all the vigilance of the French goalkeeper to prevent them from worsening the score.
A quick turnaround
Then, against the course of the game, the Blues equalize thanks to Antoine Griezmann. The attacker concludes, at six meters, a nice movement with a touch of the ball between Mendy, Ben Yedder and Martial (43rd, 1-1). A few moments later it was Anthony Martial who took advantage of a low cross from Ben Yedder to take the ball back at the far post (45th + 1, 2-1).
Did Deschamps find the words in the locker room? In the second half, the French change their face and show more inspiration, multiplying the combinations in small spaces through Ben Yedder, Martial and especially Griezmann much more legs than against Sweden.
A reassuring second half
However, this time it is the Croats who will score against the run of the game on a number from Josip Brekalo. Launched in the axis of the French surface, he resisted Ferland Mendy, Dayot Upamecano and Clément Lenglet before deceiving Hugo Lloris (55th, 2-2).
Didier Deschamps then made the choice to bring new blood to his collective. Ben Yedder leaves his place to Olivier Giroud and N’Golo Kanté leaves his place to Eduardo Camavinga, who becomes, at 17 years and 9 months, the youngest player of the French team since the post-war period.
Moments later, Upacameno honors his second selection by scoring with a header from a left corner from Griezmann (65th, 3-2). Then Olivier Giroud transforms a penalty to score his 40th goal for the Blues, consolidating his status as the top scorer in activity (77th, 4-2). The Croats will not recover despite some final banderillas like this powerful low shot from Vlasic which hits the right post of Lloris.
40 – Olivier Giroud 💥 scored the 40th goal of his career for the France team, coming one step behind Michel Platini (41), the 2nd top scorer in the history of the Blues.
The Chelsea striker converted 100% of his penalties with France (4/4).
– OptaJean (@OptaJean) September 8, 2020
If the final score recalls that of July 15, 2018, the empty stands are a far cry from the Moscow fervor of the time. And the first half recalled that the France team no longer gives off the same certainties one year before Euro football.
Relive the highlights of this meeting on our liveblog: