UEFA Nations League: France Tops Croatia 4:2 at Stade de France

Daniela Rogulj

Slobodan Kadic
Slobodan Kadic

Slobodan Kadic

September 8, 2020 – Croatia and France met in Paris on Tuesday evening for the second round of the Nations League A group. In the 2018 World Cup rematch, France tops Croatia 4:2.

Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic changed half of the starting lineup from the match against Portugal. Melnjak was thus moved to left-back and debutant Uremovic to the right. Lovren played in the heart of the defense, accompanied by Duje Caleta-Car, while Perisic and Brozovic returned to the first 11. Modric and Rakitic were not included in this Nations League campaign. 

France coach Deschamps also changed his starting eleven, and Lloris, Upamecano, Kante, and Griezmann remained from the first round against Sweden. 

Recall, in the first round on Saturday, Croatia suffered a heavy defeat against Portugal, ending 4:1 for the current European champion and the first winner of the Nations League. 

Croatia started the match much better than against Portugal and hungrier for the win. In the first five minutes, they attacked France’s backline, while the defense was solid in denying Griezmann any chances. France had their first corner in the 11th minute, which was headed out by the Croatian defense. 

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Slobodan Kadic

Croatia had their first real chance in the 13th minute, though Kovacic missed the shot after Kramaric attacked to get the ball into the box. A few minutes later, Brozovic playing a beautiful through ball to Rebic which ended in Croatia’s first corner. Brozovic played a high ball in which found the foot of Lovren who brilliantly scored far post for 1:0 Croatia!


Slobodan Kadic

Croatia saw their second corner of the match in the 18th minute, which was played short and didn’t make it into the box.

France picked up their game by the 20th minute, though their second corner was headed out by the Croatian defense. Griezmann was dangerous moments later but the backline remained solid in the block. 

Perisic and Melnjak played a beautiful one-two up the left line which forced a free-kick for Croatia outside the box. An unlucky ball resulted in another Croatia corner.  


Slobodan Kadic

Croatia continued playing calm and collected, a much better performance than the team we saw just a few days ago. 

They unraveled, however, for the first time in the 32nd minute – Griezmann had a chance to score but Brozovic and Livakovic were stellar to stop the dangerous play. 

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Slobodan Kadic

A France free-kick in the 34th minute, much like what we saw in the World Cup final, was worrying, but Griezmann shot over to keep the score 1:0 for Croatia.  

Croatia was combining brilliantly for the remainder of the half, playing quick passes up the pitch to press the France defense. Perisic shot in the 42nd which was saved by Lloris. 

Unfortunately, a quick France counter resulted in a goal in the 43rd minute. Griezmann scored for 1:1. Two minutes later, another quick counter saw France lead 2:1 with 30 seconds to go in the first half. Croatia held 57% of the possession in the first half. 

At the start of the second half, Josip Brekalo was substituted in for Ante Rebic. France made no changes.

Croatia saw their first corner of the second half already in the 46th minute, though Vlasic called for a handball. Without VAR in the Nations League, there was no review. 

Croatia continued pressing at the start of the second half and created good scoring opportunities, which were short of goals. France had their first corner of the second half in the 51st minute, which went over the post for a Croatia goal kick.


Slobodan Kadic

But then it happened, and Croatia could not have equalized any better. An incredible Kovacic ball from the halfway line found the foot of Brekalo who moved through three players in the French defense for 2:2!

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Slobodan Kadic

A free kick in the 61st minute deflected to Vlasic who crossed the ball back into Perisic, though he volleyed over the crossbar.

France had a corner in the 64th minute which finished in a goal to put them back in the lead at 3:2.

Livakovic and Brozovic once again saved a dangerous Greizmann counter. Croatia’s tempo had died down in the second half, though they continued to push the ball up France’s half when they could. 

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Slobodan Kadic

The game changed once France was awarded a penalty in the 75th minute due to a Croatia handball in the box. Giroud scored for 4:2, the same result as the 2018 World Cup final. 

Croatia tried finding the momentum and rhythm they had in the first half, but France was solid in denying any chances. 


Slobodan Kadic

A Vlasic shot in the last two minutes of regulation time hit the side post, while Lloris saved another seconds later. The ref added four minutes, in which neither team was able to score.

The match ended 4:2 for France.  

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Slobodan Kadic

Conceding eight goals in two games is not the way Croatia wanted to start the Nations League. Up next, Croatia will meet Sweden and France at home in October.

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