The France captain for tomorrow’s match, Presnel Kimpembe, and France coach Didier Deschamps opened the press conference at Poljud.
Who will be the France captain? How will you play an exhausted Griezmann?
“Kimpembe will be the captain, no doubt about it. As for Griezmann, I will not judge him by one game as you do. At the end of the season, the situation is complicated for everyone. But, both for us and for Croatia, not everyone is fresh, that is clear.”
Will the tactics change because you are without some of your big players?
“We have to give a chance to other players. For example, Lloris is the main goalkeeper, but we must also give Mike Maignan a chance to play. We planned to change before, and there are no surprising changes.”
Will Mbappe play against Croatia?
“We have not given up on Mbappe for the match, We have five injured players, including Benzema. We will see who will be ready for the match.”
How do you see this rejuvenated Croatia?
“It should be noted that Croatia started the game well, but Austria was fresher. We are used to playing against Croatia and I hope that the game will be positive for us.”
France held a training session in which four players trained on a stationary bike, while the others practiced on the pitch. Mbappe, Kounde, Kante, and Coman trained on stationary bikes, while Benzema ran laps around the pitch.
Coach Zlatko Dalić and captain Luka Modrić opened the press conference for Croatia. Luka was asked questions first:
“We did not expect that defeat against Austria. It was a tough defeat for us. We need to look forward and not calculate too much and be depressed about it. We have France tomorrow. It’s never nice to lose but maybe it’s good to lose sometimes to see where our mistakes are. It’s not easy to win when we aren’t at our best. We will see tomorrow.
We need to be focused. We know a tough game awaits us. We know our record against France isn’t great. We are still waiting for a win. We need to believe that we can win. It’ll be a full Poljud. We need to use that as a motive and turn around that losing streak.
We know it’s tough for everyone at the end of the season. It’s not easy to play 4 games in 11 days in the Nations League. You are put in that situation and you need to pull through. Maybe these games would be better played in a mini-tournament instead of like this. But this is how it is. We need to be maximally focused, give our all, and do all that we can. That’s how we have been preparing for tomorrow.”
What about playing against Benzema?
“We both feel amazing. Everything we have done this year is amazing. Winning the 5th Champions League title is incredible. Benzema and I haven’t spoken about this game yet. I just hope he won’t be in the same form as he has been for tomorrow’s game.”
Coach Zlatko Dalić took the floor.
“It was not a good loss. We didn’t expect that against Austria. All of my losses have been in the Nations League, but we need to keep our heads up and see what we can do. We want to make up for the loss against Austria.
Belgium, France, England, and Croatia all lost in the first round of the Nations League. Even with France playing without some of their starters tomorrow, their second team is incredible. They will always be amazing – we need to make sure we are. Every game for Croatia is important. We want to stay in the Elite Nations League.”
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