Loss to Croatia keeps France at bottom of table
Holders France failed to qualify for the final four of the Nations League when they slumped to a 1-0 defeat at home to Croatia as they stayed winless in the competition on Monday. The world champions, who have now lost two and drawn two, are at the bottom of Group 1 on two points, five adrift of Croatia who prevailed thanks to an early Luka Modric penalty.
Denmark beat Austria 2-0 to stay top on nine points and cannot be caught by France, who are in danger of being relegated, with two games left in the group. Austria are third on four points.
Jonas Wind scored one goal and made another as Denmark cruised to a 2-0 win over Austria. The 23-year-old forward opened the scoring in the 21st minute and Andreas Skov Olsen netted the second with a cool side-footed finish after Wind found him in the box with a clever pass nine minutes before the break.
Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen received a raucous ovation when he came on in the second half a year and a day after collapsing on the Parken pitch due to a heart problem in a Euro 2020 group game against Finland and he almost scored with an 87th-minute shot that was palmed onto the post.
France coach Didier Deschamps reshuffled his team again as he looked to rest players at the end of the season and in all four matches this month never fielded the best possible line-up.
Croatia grabbed the early lead after five minutes when Modric converted a penalty after Ibrahima Konate fouled Ante Budimir. It was Modric’s 22nd goal in 152 games for Croatia. Kylian Mbappe had two opportunitites but it was the visitors who threatened most in the 17th minute through Josip Brekalo.
Antoine Griezmann replaced Matteo Guendouzi with 10 minutes left in a last-ditch attempt by Deschamps to salvage a point, but in vain.
“It was a difficult month of June in terms of results. We did not have the energy and the strength against teams who had more than us,” said Deschamps.
In League B, Group 2 leaders Israel twice came from behind to draw in Iceland 2-2. In League C, Kazakhstan took control of Group 3 after beating Slovakia 2-1 to move onto 10 points, four ahead of the Slovaks. Azerbaijan beat Belarus 2-0 at home in the other game.