Croatia-France: back to the future


Passing through Zagreb, the Blues once again taste the world before. There is this stadium, placed in the city like a vestige of communist architecture, old-fashioned like an enclosure for amateurs, with its four distinct stands, without bends, its blue and yellow concrete which disfigures it in every place. We don’t light up with candles, but with four heating pylons. It could be a field on the edge of the Paris ring road or the deep Creuse, in short, which smells of football of sweat and refreshments, not really of the standing of a vice-world champion. Dejan Lovren, the former Lyonnais, was even moved at a press conference.

There will also be noise at the Maksimir stadium, with the presence of 7,000 people, a gauge that almost recalls a life without viruses, in a city where wearing a mask is not compulsory in the streets, only in confined spaces. So it will sound like old-fashioned football, with tackles and bad faith, like in a song by Miossec from 20 years ago reissued in 2020.

By rewinding in their past life, the Blues would be right to find their going from the months preceding the health crisis. Everything has become hard, like rediscovering faith, envy, automatisms in front of empty stands and after months of hiatus, but it is time to change. Croatia are fighting their last chance to grab the top spot in the group, jointly dominated by Portugal and France. They have one way left and their only compass is to win, guided in this direction by Luka Modric, absent at the Stade de France on September 8.

On September 8, Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud again forced the Croats to score 4-2. LP / Olivier Lejeune

It is both their salvation of the moment, but also an inspiration full of revenge while the Croats of Zlatko Dalic have still not digested their last two defeats against the Blues. “We will do our best, but the result should not suffer, we have to go for a victory, details the coach. We were better than them in the World Cup final and in the League of Nations, but we still lost. It’s the team that punishes you for every mistake and we have to be careful. “In the end, it always ends up the same, at least from an accounting point of view: 4-2 against them.

Finish this phase in style in Lisbon

A third in a row would delight Didier Deschamps, no doubt annoyed by the purge he saw Sunday against Portugal (0-0). If everything went well, from Hugo Lloris to the midfield, the game in the corridors and in front was buried in the night of the Stade de France.

Before the triple meeting in November which will take stock of this first phase of the League of Nations, the Blues cannot leave us with two bad impressions. It’s not their story and it’s not the idea, as they still want to style Cristiano Ronaldo’s friends for the top spot. It is expected that it will be decided on November 14 in Lisbon and a counter-performance this evening would remove all its salt from this meeting. She also looks like the world after is a lot worse. The French team no longer really has a choice: it’s time to remember beautiful things and build your future based on your past, in the world before.

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