Croatia and France share the spoils in Split! This slow-burning game livened up in the second half once Rabiot’s smart finish gave France the lead.
Croatia didn’t accept defeat, though, and got their just rewards late on as their substitute Kramaric earned and then converted a penalty. Both teams had chances to win this at the death, but a draw feels like a fair result.
CROATIA (4-3-3): Dominik Livakovic; Josip Juranovic, Martin Erlic, Domagoj Vida, Borna Barisic; Luka Modric (c), Marcelo Brozovic, Mateo Kovacic; Lovro Majer, Ante Budimir, Josip Brekalo.
FRANCE (3-5-2): Mike Maignan; Benjamin Pavard, William Saliba, Presnel Kimpembe (c); Moussa Diaby, Aurelien Tchouameni, Matteo Guendouzi, Adrien Rabiot, Lucas Digne; Wissam Ben Yedder, Christopher Nkunku.
GOAL! CROATIA 0-1 FRANCE! France scored from nowhere! Rabiot races onto Ben Yedder’s pass down the left and slots first-time past Livakovic with his left foot.
GOAL! CROATIA 1-1 FRANCE! Kramaric steps up, waits for Maignan to falter, and slots the ball calmly into the bottom left corner of the net! Croatia hasn’t been great here, but they do deserve to be level.
What does it mean? Croatia gets a helping hand to snatch the draw.
It is hard to argue that Zlatko Dalic ‘s side did not deserve to take a point away from the visit of the world champions, having edged them for shots and matched them for efforts on target throughout.
But against a France side missing several first-choice starters as Les Bleus experiment with their impressive depth ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup, they may be wary of the fact they needed a penalty in order to save face.
Still, it marked a drastic improvement from their own opening Nations League defeat to Austria last week and gets them off the mark.
So, what’s next?
Croatia can celebrate salvaging a draw against the world champions then, while France’s slow start to their Nations League campaign continues. They’re in an uphill battle already to retain their title.
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