France came from behind in Saint-Denis to make it a repeat of the 2018 FIFA World Cup final scoreline.
France vs Croatia: as it happened
Match in brief
Didier Deschamps’ side ensured their unbeaten run against Croatia continued with a repeat of the scoreline in the 2018 World Cup showpiece in Russia.
Dayot Upamecano’s header and sub Olivier Giroud’s late penalty restored the hosts’ advantage, after half-time replacement Josip Brekalo had weaved through the French defence to score an equaliser 11 minutes after the break.
A devastating four-minute spell just before the interval had turned this Group 3 game around for Les Bleus, with Antoine Griezmann’s close-range effort and a Dominik Livaković own goal eclipsing Dejan Lovren’s neat 18th-minute opener.
David Crossan, France reporter: France may have repeated the scoreline from the World Cup final but Didier Deschamps will know that it was unconvincing for long spells and that Les Bleus will have to perform much better when Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal come to the Stade de France in a repeat of the EURO 2016 final. The 3-5-2 system still needs perfecting but France have a happy knack of getting results. Eduardo Camavinga did enough in his cameo off the bench to suggest the 17-year-old will soon become an integral player.
Elvir Islamović, Croatia reporter: Although Croatia looked good most of the time in Paris, the fact is they conceded four goals. Eight goals shipped in their opening two matches in this UEFA Nations League season. That’s too much. It’s true this was a different story from the one in Portugal – Croatia played much better, even deserved something other than this loss – but Zlatko Dalić has a lot of work to do in the upcoming months. Without Luka Modrić and Ivan Rakitić, with some key players not 100% fit, the coach will certainly find both positives and lessons from these two matches.
Didier Deschamps, France coach: “We played with greater style, apart from in the first 30 minutes when we were dominated physically and were not precise enough technically.”
Eduardo Camavinga, France midfielder: “I’ve often played alongside older players and that means I’ve acquired a certain maturity. I’ve been welcomed into the group and it’s gone really well. I’d like to be called up again but I must focus on performing well for my club Rennes.”
Zlatko Dalić, Croatia coach: “We played an excellent 43 minutes, had chances to score a second but a loss of concentration meant we conceded two goals. We started the second half well, levelled the score, but then conceded from a corner and that decided the match.”
Ivan Perišič, Croatia captain: “We played much better than we did in the first game against Portugal. From the first minute we were good and we tried to attack. We have to look at the game again and see where we made mistakes.”
- Croatia are yet to beat France in seven attempts, losing five of those.
- Antoine Griezmann scored his 31st international goal, moving him alongside Zinedine Zidane into joint-fifth in France’s all-time top scorers.
- France sub Eduardo Camavinga became Les Bleus’ youngest debutant since 1914.
France: Lloris; Upamecano, Lenglet, Hernández; Sissoko, Kanté (Camavinga 63), Nzonzi, Mendy; Griezmann (Fekir 78); Ben Yedder (Giroud 63), Martial
Croatia: Livaković; Uremović (Vida 57), Lovren, Ćaleta-Car, Melnjak; Kovačić, Brozović, Vlašić; Rebić (Brekalo 46), Kramarić, Perišić (Pašalić 66)
Group A3 continues next month, with France vs Portugal and Croatia vs Sweden on Sunday 11 October.