Croatia beat France, wins by 1-0


Croatia coach Dalic insists 1-0 victory over France proves his team have overcome inferiority complex after losing FIFA World Cup final in 2018

Croatia’s Luka Modric scores off a penalty against France during their UEFA Nations League match in Paris on Monday. Pic/AFP

Luka Modric’s early penalty gave Croatia a 1-0 win over off-form France in Paris on Monday as the World Cup holders finished their June run of UEFA Nations League matches without a victory in four outings.

Match-winner Modric 

Veteran Croatia captain Modric stroked in his spot-kick after just five minutes at the Stade de France, and the home side could not find an equaliser despite Kylian Mbappe returning to join Karim Benzema in the starting line-up. 

Zlatko DalicZlatko Dalic

“We had an inferiority complex against France after their win in the World Cup and so to win at the Stade de France in front of almost 80,000 people against the world champions is extraordinary,” said Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic. 

France won the previous edition of the Nations League last year, but have managed just two points from their four outings this month, with home defeats against Denmark and now Croatia sandwiching draws away to the Croats and in Austria. As a result, Les Bleus are bottom of League A, Group 1, seven points behind leaders Denmark who beat Austria 2-0 in Copenhagen on Monday with first-half goals by Jonas Wind and Andreas Skov Olsen.

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Didier Deschamps’ team may now need to win their last two group games in September to avoid being relegated to the less glamorous League B. 
Those matches are also the only games they have left before they begin their defence of the World Cup against 
Australia in Qatar in November.

‘We lacked strength’

“It is not an excuse but in this get-together we have lacked strength, energy and character too,” said Deschamps, who missed the defeat against Denmark earlier this month following the death of his father. 

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