The Nations League has thrown up a few shock results so far, not least with both of these sides losing to Austria and Denmark respectively. In fact, none of the top five ranked European sides came out on top with Belgium, France and England all losing, while Spain and Italy picked up draws.
Croatia’s 3-0 home defeat to Ralph Rangnick’s Austria side would have been a huge blow to confidence, especially with the strength of the side they fielded. The hosts dominated possession in the game yet weren’t able to create any major goalscoring opportunities and that lack of creativity may hurt them here.
We’d expect five time Champions League winner Luka Modric to come into the starting line up to provide that spark, but while they were afforded the majority of possession against a side like Austria, they’ll have no such luxury against this French side.
Karim Benzema continued his good form, giving his country the lead just after half-time, though an Andreus Cornelius double helped the Danes flip the game on it’s head last week. Les Bleus dominated proceedings, though ultimately fell short in a shock result though we’d be surprised if they were to let the same happen again here.
France To Win To Nil
Didier Deschamps side were on a 20-match unbeaten streak over 90 minutes prior to that outing last week, and they haven’t lost successive matches since June 2015, highlighting their quality and strength of character that each of their last eight defeats have been followed up by a victory.
In fairness to Croatia, they were on a 12-match unbeaten streak over 90 minutes before losing to the Austrians last week, a run going back to their 1-0 defeat to England in the opening game of the Euros.
However, on closer inspection, they didn’t face anyone of any quality in that run, with 33rd placed Czech Republic the highest ranked team they faced. Despite the quality of opposition, they till only had a W7-D5 record across those games, and we can’t see them competing here especially after that wake-up call for France last week.
While France have an abundance of talent up front, their five at the back system allows for greater defensive resolve and that’s been proven in their recent games.
They’ve conceded just six times in their last eight outings, with five of those goals coming against side higher ranked that Croatia (Belgium, Spain and Denmark). Nine of their last 12 victories have come to nil, and with a game already under their belts, we’d expect them to be able to hold out this Croatian attack.
FRANCE TO WIN TO NIL
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