Four games into their 2022/23 UEFA Nations League A campaign, reigning champions France are bottom of their group with two points and out of contention for the final four. On Monday night, Les Bleus’ suffered a 1-0 loss against Croatia, which confirmed their elimination from playoff qualification. Instead, with two games left in this edition of the tournament, the current world champions are at risk of relegation to League B.
France conceded the only goal of the game five minutes after kickoff. The referee spotted Ibrahima Konate’s foul on Ante Budimir during a set-piece, pointed to the spot, and stayed with his decision despite a VAR check. Luka Modric took the responsibility and scored the ensuing penalty kick to give the Croats the lead with a powerful drive into the corner.
At the other end, Kylian Mbappe and Christopher Nkunku tried their luck from range – the former, twice, on either side of the break – but were kept at bay by Ivica Ivusic.
France goalkeeper Mike Maignan, too, was called into action by the opposition attackers in the final quarter of the game. The AC Milan man kept his side in contention, but to little avail, as the attackers couldn’t breach the Croatian goal despite a late flurry of chances.
Four games in, France are languishing at the bottom of the table, two points behind Ralf Rangnick’s Austria, who were beaten by group leaders Denmark on Monday night.
Jonas Wind gave the Danes the lead in the 21st minute, diverting Joakim Maehle’s cross from close range into the net. Wind turned provider for Denmark’s second, threading a pass through to the in-form Andreas Skov-Olsen, who confidently curled his seventh international goal past Heinz Lindner in the Austrian net from close range.
Denmark will take the lead with them into September’s international break, where a win against Croatia should be enough to take them through to the final four.
2022/23 Nations League: League A, Group 1
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