Croatia-France: from Thuram’s double to Moscow’s apotheosis

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“Crna zvijer” means black beast in Croatian. France deserves this name for the checkered team. In seven confrontations, the Blues have, it is true, never known failure against the partners of Modric. They do not intend to depart from this tradition this Wednesday evening in Zagreb in the League of Nations. From the first match between the two selections in the semi-finals of the 1998 World Cup to the unforgettable Moscow final, on July 15, 2018, these meetings have never created monotony.

Thuram born July 8

The image: one knee on the ground, the finger on the mouth is insensitive to the patina of time. In this July 8, 1998, in the semi-finals of the World Cup, the France of football discovered with Lilian Thuram an unexpected hero. “A sort of reflex. I no longer understood anything. I said to myself: But what am I doing here? »Will then tell the Guadeloupe. Author, in 23 minutes (47th, 70th) of an incredible double, he extirpated the country of organizer from a very bad step. Trapped by a goal from Davor Suker at the very start of the second period, the Blues recover, thus, to the place through a player touched by grace and validate, in passing, their ticket for the final (2 -1).

Trezeguet avoids breakage

Put into orbit by an inaugural success, but late against England (2-1), the reigning European champions are far from flying over their second match in group B of this Euro 2004. The Croatian opponent gives them well and truly a hard time. Qualified in the event of success, they open, however, the score by Zidane. Croatia erased its handicap and took the advantage, scoring twice in quick succession in the space of 5 minutes, on a penalty from Milan Rapaic, then thanks to a half-volley from Monegasque Dado Prso, following a mistake by Marcel Desailly. But opportunist David Trezeguet sets the record straight shortly after the hour mark.

The two nations are parting back to back. France obliterates its qualification the following match by dominating Switzerland (3-1). His somewhat chaotic path stops in quarter against the improbable Greeks, future winners of the tournament (1-0).

The second star

Didier Deschamps had found his team in Peru, for the second group match (1-0). He stayed true to it to the end and was paid back. Except against Denmark, in a 3 rd group match locked and devoid of stake (0-0), then against Uruguay (2-0), due to the suspension of Blaise Matuidi, the Basque technician has always maintained his confidence in the same men. Against Croatia, on July 15, 2018 in Moscow in the final of the Russian World Cup, the Habs, exemplary of solidarity, however suffered, technically and physically during an almost miraculous first period and ended with an advantage in the score (a CSC of Mario Mandzukic, then a penalty from Antoine Griezmann).

On resumption, they were able to raise their level of play and rely on their strengths which would soon precipitate the Croatian defeat. Kylian Mbappé and the blue efficiency also embodied by Paul Pogba did the rest (4-2). France holds its success and can sew on its jersey a second star.

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