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Bottom of the table: World champions France are in crisis

Soccer bottom of table

World champion France is in crisis

France's head coach Didier Deschamps looks on before the UEFA Nations League - League A Group 1 football match between France and Croatia at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, on the outskirts of Paris on June 13, 2022. (Photo by Franck FIFE / AFP)

Slightly annoyed: coach Didier Deschamps during the home defeat against Croatia

What: AFP

With only two points from four games and largely unimaginative appearances, France disappointed in the Nations League. “Our status as world champion alone is not enough to win games,” said coach Didier Deschamps.

ÜThere are divided opinions about the significance of the newly created competition. While the European Football Association of course rates the Nations League, which it launched in 2018, as a great success, some protagonists on the field have a completely different assessment. The games at the end of a strenuous season are “friendly games packed into a tournament format,” says German striker Thomas Müller.

He is obviously not the only one with that opinion, as numerous nations are actually using the current duels as preparation for the World Cup in Qatar in winter. This often involves testing new staff.

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World champions France are no exception. Coach Didier Deschamps happily mixed up one starting eleven after the other – albeit with moderate success. After a 2-1 defeat by Denmark, a 1-1 draw in Croatia and a 1-1 draw in Austria, his squad lost 1-0 to Croatia at home in Paris on Monday night’s Stade de France.

Mutlos nach Modrics Tor

Due to the bankruptcy in the last game of the French before the much-needed summer break, which Luka Modric sealed with a converted penalty kick (5th), the team, which has been used to success, is now threatened with adversity: relegation from the Nations League.

Croatia's midfielder Luka Modric (C) scores his team's first goal on a penalty kick during the UEFA Nations League - League A Group 1 football match between France and Croatia at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, on the outskirts of Paris on June 13, 2022. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

Luka Modric (centre) with the goal of the evening

What: AFP

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Group A is led by Denmark, who have nine points from four games. Behind them are Croatia (seven) and Austria (four). France is only bottom of the table with two points. One thing is already certain: In the two remaining games in September, the Équipe Tricolore can no longer reach the final round of the Nations League, but can only prevent the worst case.

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Far more than the dreary results Deschamps should worry about the recent performances. After falling behind against Croatia, they were unable to create their own creative and courageous chances. The world champion acted largely without ideas. And that despite the fact that there were some exceptional talents on the field with Champions League winner Karim Benzema, Kylian Mbappé or the Leipzig prodigy Christopher Nkunku.

France's forward Karim Benzema (R) and France's forward Kylian Mbappe react after being defeated by Croatia at the end of the UEFA Nations League - League A Group 1 football match between France and Croatia at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, on the outskirts of Paris on June 13, 2022. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

At a loss: France’s super striker Kylian Mbappé (left) and Karim Benzema

What: AFP

Afterwards, Deschamps said: “We met a very good team from Croatia and they were simply more dynamic than us today. Our status as world champions alone is not enough to win games.”

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