France vs Croatia
France and Croatia will face off in the UEFA Nations League, their first meeting since the French ran out 4-2 winners in the 2018 World Cup final.
However, this will be a much-changed Croatia side that will be without both Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic. They missed their midfield maestros badly as they suffered a disastrous 4-1 defeat to Portugal in their opening match.
France won their first match 1-0 against Sweden, although they did not look all that convincing while playing a new formation. Nevertheless, the UEFA Nations League 2020 odds still have them as significant favourites to make it wins out of two against the shorthanded Croatians.
France’s formation experiment falls flat
France got their Nations League campaign off to a winning start in Sweden, but their performance was not impressive.
Manager Didier Deschamps decided to experiment with the formation of his starting line-up as he played with three at the back of Presnel Kimpembe, Dayot Upamecano, and Raphael Varane, and a front three of Kylian Mbappe, Olivier Giroud, and Antoine Griezmann.
Meanwhile, they played Adrien Rabiot and N’Golo Kante in midfield, which did not provide much creativity.
That strange formation saw France fail to produce too many UEFA Nations League 2020 highlights; they had just seven shots in total, two fewer than Sweden. Their only shot on target was Mbappe’s moment of brilliance, which resulted in the winning goal.
Deschamps said post-match that he was satisfied with the result, but acknowledged that their attacking performance needed improvement.
Still, there’s a decent chance Deschamps will stick with this new system and see if they can play much better against Croatia, who were simply torn to shreds by Portugal in their first match.
And even if France struggle to create chances once again, they can still count on the likes of Mbappe, Griezmann, and Anthony Martial — who came on as a substitute and won a late penalty against Sweden — to produce a moment of magic and pick up another victory.
Croatia miss midfield stars badly
Croatia were completely outplayed by Portugal in their opening match. With Modric and Rakitic not around to help out in midfield, Portugal were able to control 57 per cent of possession and had a whopping 27 shots, 11 on target.
Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic made some important saves in the first half, and they would’ve suffered an even heavier defeat if he didn’t.
It also didn’t help that two other key players — midfielder Marcelo Brozovic and winger Ivan Perisic — started on the bench and only came on as substitutes in the second half. It was understandable that they didn’t start given their long European campaigns with their respective clubs, but Croatia also could have used them.
It remains to be seen whether Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic will start Brozovic and Perisic against France. But if he doesn’t, the Croatians could once again struggle to create many chances as they did against Portugal, where they had just five total shots.
Andrej Kramaric and Ante Rebic were complete non-factors against Portugal. And now, they will face a France defence that does not give up too many goals.
France have dominated their somewhat limited head-to-head history with Croatia. The two countries have met six times overall, and the French are undefeated with four wins and two draws.
Croatia held the French to a 2-2 draw in Euro 2004 and to a goalless draw in a 2011 friendly. But France completely outplayed them when they met in the 2018 World Cup final.
After Perisic cancelled out Mario Mandzukic’s early own-goal, goals from Griezmann, Paul Pogba, and Mbappe led France to a 4-2 win as they became world champions for the second time.
|France vs Croatia||First Half 1X2 France @ 2.32|
|September 9, 02:45 (GMT+8)|
SBOTOP odds have France installed as heavy 1.62 favourites to grab the home win, with Croatia priced at 5.20. A draw is 3.70.
There’s not much value in the 1X2 odds for a France win, but their First Half 1X2 odds of 2.32 are quite interesting and deserve some strong consideration.
France will be eager to make up for their underwhelming showing against Sweden at home, which could see them get off to a strong start. And after seeing Croatia’s poor performance against Portugal, it seems unlikely that the visitors give the home side too many problems.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:|
|= €20 (Highly confident)||= €10 (CONFIDENT)||= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)|
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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