The standout game in the Nations League on Monday is France’s home clash with Croatia at 19:45 – a repeat of the 2018 World Cup final (France 1/2, Draw 10/3, Croatia 11/2).
France memorably won that clash 4-2 in Russia four years ago and Les Bleus are desperate for a victory tonight, as Didier Deschamps’ side have yet to win in the Nations League so far this term.
An opening home defeat against the Danes has been followed up by draws against Croatia and Austria away, so the reigning world champions are surprisingly bottom of Group A1, four points behind leaders Denmark.
The current crop of Nations League fixtures have come hot on the heels of the busy club season in Europe and several of France’s top stars have looked jaded, including forward Antoine Griezmann, who has not scored for 22 games, but who still started last time out against Austria.
Deschamps admits the 31-year-old has looked out of sorts and it’s expected Kylian Mbappe, who came on for the Atletico Madrid man and scored the equaliser in Vienna, will start against Croatia in Paris.
On Griezmann, Deschamps said: “I knew he didn’t have 90 minutes in his legs in these games. He is not in the best shape. This shows in his performance and in his influence on the dynamic of the game.”
France will be without Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante and Bayern Munich defender Lucas Hernandez for the tie – Kante has a knee problem and centre-back Hernandez has travelled back home for the birth of his child.
Deschamps is not overly concerned with France’s poor start to the Nations League but is obviously hoping for an improvement on Monday night.
He said: “We have to make sure we gather all our strength in order to conclude this international break well and win against Croatia. I’m not worried (about the 1-1 draw against Austria).
“It is not the result we were hoping for, and we are not at the peak of our form or fitness, but we have given playing time to some younger players.”
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Croatia started the competition with a disappointing 3-0 loss at home to Austria, but have responded to that early setback well, drawing 1-1 at home against France and then beating Denmark 1-0 win away.
The other game in Group A sees Denmark, who have won two of their three games so far, host Austria, also at 19:45 with the Danes 4/5 to win at home.
Austria have won one, lost one and drawn the other of their three matches.
Elsewhere on Monday night, there are Nations League games across Groups B and C with Iceland entertaining Israel at 19:45 in B2 (Iceland 13/8, Draw 9/4, Israel 17/10), while in Group C3 it’s Kazakhstan versus Slovakia at 15:00 (Kazakhstan 9/2, Draw 5/2, Slovakia 4/6) and Azerbaijan are at home to Belarus at 17:00 (Azerbaijan 7/5, Draw 15/8 Belarus 9/4).
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