Monday, 13 June 2022

Early Luka Modrić Penalty Gives Croatia First-Ever Win against France!

June 13, 2022 - Croatia finally beats France in their 10th meeting on Monday night, winning in the 4th round of Nations League at Stade de France in Paris. An early Luka Modrić penalty gave Croatia their first-ever victory against France. 

The Croatia national team met France in the 4th round of the Nations League at Stade de France in Paris on Monday. It was Croatia's 5th time playing at the famous French stadium. 

Going into this match, Denmark lead the group with six points, Austria and Croatia had four points each, while France sat at the bottom with two points. France needed a win tonight to have any hope of getting out of the group and avoid relegation in the Nations League. 

Before this match, Croatia recorded six defeats and three draws in nine matches against the current world champion France, with a goal difference of 9-20.


France: Maignan - Koundé, Konaté, Kimpembe, Digne - Kamara, Guendouzi, Rabiot - Nkunku, Mbappé, Benzema

Croatia: Ivušić - Stanišić, Erlić, Šutalo, Juranović - Brozović, Modrić, Kovačić - Pašalić, Budimir, Brekalo

Match Report 

Croatia had their first corner of the match in the 3rd minute after a nice attack into France's half. Budimir fell in the box during the play which forced the ref to look at VAR for a penalty check. The ref called a penalty for Croatia which Luka Modrić scored for 0:1 Croatia in the 5th minute!

Mbappé had a shot on target which Ivusic saved Tchouameni.

France picked up the intensity in the 12th minute, testing Croatia's defense in the box, but the center backs cleared any danger. Croatia had a counter moments later which saw France's keeper and Budimir clash just outside of the box. Croatia was awarded a free kick which Modric hit at the keeper.

It was a match of fouls called for Croatia, with Brekalo elbowed in the nose in the 18th minute. Fortunately, he was well enough to continue the match. 

Mbappé was dangerous again in the 22nd minute, though Croatia managed to stop him before he got a shot off. 

France danced around Croatia's half for the next few minutes until Brozovic fouled to stop the play.  Nkunku had an excellent chance in the 28th minute which went just wide of Croatia's goal. 

Croatia finally regained possession and moved into France's half in the 30th minute. Juranovic crossed to Budimir in the box a minute later which went off his head back into the play. 

A quick Croatia counter in the 34th minute saw Juranovic play Budimir in the box which the France keeper got to first. Croatia denied Mbappe and Benzema from getting a shot off in the following play.

Juranovic found Budimir again in a similar play in the next few minutes. Budimir shot near post which went out for a Croatia corner. 

France calmly held possession for the next few minutes, but a Croatia counter in the 43rd minute got them back in the game. Croatia's defense remained solid in the back to keep them ahead before the half. France even hit the near post net a minute before the half and headed over the goal! The match was 0:1 for Croatia at halftime. 

France made two changes at halftime - Pavard and Tchouameni came on for Konude and Kamara. 

France had their first dangerous attack in the 46th minute. Mbappe dribbled to the goal line and crossed into the box which the Croatia defense cleared with a header. Tchouameni shot at Ivusic a minute later. 

Budimir was one-on-one with the France keeper in the 49th minute and shot over the crossbar.

Benzema dribbled through the defense in the 53rd minute but Croatia was able to stop the play. Mbappe shot in the 54th minute which went wide of the goal.

Luka found Juranovic on the left wing in the 57th minute. The France defender headed it back which Juranovic attacked and played back to Pasalic who couldn't quite get a shot off. 

Ivusic made an incredible save with his foot to stop Mbappe from scoring in the 60th minute. The ball went out for a corner and Croatia cleared the play. 

Dalic subbed off Pasalic for Majer in the 64th minute.

France was hungry for a goal in the following 5 minutes with a few threatening plays in Croatia's box. Pavard's shot was blocked by the Croatia defense. Chaos in the penalty area ended thanks to Sutalo who found Ivusic and stopped the play. 

Brekalo found Majer at the top of the box in the 71st minute which was saved by the France keeper. Budimir came out for Kramaric and Brekalo for Vlasic in the 73rd minute. France subbed on Coman for Nkunku.

Coman dribbled to the goal line for a France corner in the 74th minute. Mbappe's shot was saved by Ivusic.

A dangerous free kick for France was taken by Mbappe in the 77th minute and went over the goal. 

Griezmann was subbed on in the 80th minute. Mbappe fouled Erlic moments later.  France did not leave Croatia's half. 

A quick counter for Croatia came in the 83rd minute but France was quick to regain possession. Young Bayern defender Josip Stanisic was absolutely brilliant on the right side to stop Coman. 

Rabiot shot over the goal in the 86th minute. Croatia was playing defense for most of the second half. 

Croatia finally regained possession in the 87th minute. Vlasic shot at the keeper. 

The ref added 4 minutes of stoppage time. Croatia played calmly in the remaining minutes but France picked up the intensity to get a goal. A dangerous chance in the final seconds just went wide of the goal. Konate headed over the goal in the final second. The ref blew the final whistle and Croatia recorded their first-ever win against France! 

Croatia continues their Nations League campaign in September against Denmark at home and Austria away. 

For more, check out our sports section.

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Zlatko Dalic and Ivan Perisic Address Press Ahead of France Rematch

September 8, 2020 - Zlatko Dalic and Ivan Perisic addressed the press ahead of the Nations League rematch against France on Tuesday evening in Paris.

Ivan Perisic has fond memories of the Stade de France. Perisic played for the first time for the Croatia A national team at Saint-Denis on March 29, 2011, in a friendly match that ended without goals in front of seventy thousand spectators. Tonight, he and the Vatreni will replay the World Cup final in Russia, unfortunately without spectators. The Nations League meeting between France and Croatia begins at 8:45 pm.


Slobodan Kadic

"When you play for Croatia, it doesn't matter who is on the other side, this match is special because it is the first against France after the Moscow final during which we dominated in the first half, but we, unfortunately, received two goals. We tried to change things in the second half, but it didn’t work. There is no rematch; this is a new game for me. There are a lot of new players on both sides, France will play in the new system, so this is a completely different story. I hope that we will be ready; we have to give our best," says Ivan, who is just getting in the right shape after a hard but successful season and a few days off until the start of new obligations.

"After the Champions League final, I only had seven days off, in general, neither of us is one hundred percent, but that should not be a reason not to get something positive out of these two games. We didn't get into the game against Portugal well; we didn't stand well on the pitch, there wasn't enough aggression, we didn't even try to play, which is one of our best traits, we just kicked the ball… There are many things we need to fix and do better because it won't end well if we continue like that. We spoke, we know where we went wrong, tomorrow is a new day, a new game, and we will get something positive. Not even France is one hundred percent, because most of the players, almost no one has played games. However, we have to give the maximum be it 45, 60, or 90 minutes. We are playing for Croatia against the World Cup finalists, every game must be like the last one for us," points out Ivan and points out the strength of the next opponent.


Slobodan Kadic

"France is a football force and, regardless of the character of the match, they have a player staff of about forty or fifty top players. Simply, whoever they put you don't know where the greater danger will come from, and they also have a great coach, and we will really have to be at a high level if we want to get a positive result."

Coach Zlatko Dalic spoke in selected words about Perisic's contribution to Croatia's game.

"Ivan is one of our most important players, the holder of the game, this year he had a great season with Bayern, which he crowned by winning the Champions League. When there are not a few main players, Modric, Rakitic, and Vrsaljko, he is the one who, as captain, will be the main one on the pitch on our side. He said that he is not very well prepared, which is normal considering that he recently played in the Champions League final. Still, I expect him to be the team leader, get a new impetus with him, and raise the level of our game compared to the game against Portugal," says Zlatko Dalic, who is aware of the fact that the team failed in Porto.


Slobodan Kadic

"We suffered a very difficult and painful defeat that we absolutely deserved. There were many bad things, it was not a game at the level of the Croatia national team, but we must understand that it is the beginning of the season, that there are a lot of new players in the national team. After all, our goal is the European Championship; we have to make a selection of players through these matches and try to find what is best. This is not the same team that played in the World Cup in Russia, which is normal; we had to make a slight change of generations. I repeat, we were not good in Porto. The players' physical condition is not at the level; there was not enough energy and aggression, we simply overslept in the game. We will make some team changes because some players who played first cannot run in another strong game in three days. We will have to change the way we play and approach; we have to be much more responsible; there has to be a lot more discipline in our game. Anyway, I expect a better match than in Portugal. I have tremendous respect for the French world champions who have great players. We have to set ourselves up much better, helping each other in the defense phase. Against Portugal, we lacked that compactness and homogeneity; we were not together; we were not close; there was no support. We stayed in situations where the opponent had a surplus; it looked like Portugal was playing with 15, and we with 10 players. Even harder work awaits us against France."

Of course, everyone misses the fans.

"We all miss the fans, and football doesn't make sense without them. We are all handicapped, but, given the overall situation, we need to adapt to the new measures. It is not easy for us; football is played because of the fans. I hope they will return to the stands soon," concluded Dalic.

Source: HNS

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