France are out of form and exhausted after Croatia Nations League loss

France are winless in four for the first time in SIX YEARS after loss to Croatia ended their hopes of retaining Nations League… Les Bleus are ‘EXHAUSTED’ and a talented squad is ‘lacking character’

  • France are winless in four in what has been a difficult Nations League campaign  
  • Les Bleus won the competition last December but have struggled to get going  
  • Didier Deschamps has claimed his players are ‘exhausted’ and lack strength 

You would not think this was a team that were the reigning Nations League champions. After a flat performance in their 1-0 home loss to Croatia, France already can’t defend their title and may yet be relegated from their group. 

Les Bleus will be feeling pretty blue themselves. They’re at sixes and sevens after going four games without a win during an international break for the first time in six years, with the team feeling the effects of a long season. 

They have plummeted to the bottom of Group 1 in League A of the competition, earning just one point from their first four games that begun just two weeks ago. 

France are low on confidence after a run of four games without a win in the Nations League 

France boss Didier Deschamps has admitted his players are lacking ‘strength and character’

But this mini summer tournament has not been kind to France – in fact, it’s exposed some gaping flaws in a squad that looks fatigued following the end of the domestic season and lacking in confidence.

France boss Didier Deschamps said he had no excuses but claimed his players were desperately needing a rest after the defeat to Croatia at the Stade de France – also accusing them of lacking ‘strength and character’.

‘It is not an excuse but in this get-together we have lacked strength, energy and character too,’ he said. 

‘It hurts because we have not managed to win a game. Maybe I didn’t have the usual energy to transmit to them either.

Les Bleus were beaten 1-0 by Croatia and are rock bottom of their Nations League group 

‘We will need everyone at the start of next season to be in the right frame of mind and in the right athletic condition. It is a pity. Many of our players are exhausted but this is no excuse.’

It has been a tough few weeks for Deschamps on personal note. The coach has been dealing with the tragic death of his father this month and missed their opening Nations League match against Denmark on June 3, which France lost 2-1 at home.

His assistant Guy Stephan stood in for that game, and the team have never recovered from that defeat as they went on to draw 1-1 in back to back games against Croatia and Austria, before a Luka Modric penalty condemned them to a second home defeat on Monday night.

France now actually face the prospect of being relegated from their Nations League group – what a fall from grace that would be, just six months after winning it. 

Luka Modric netted the only goal of the game from the spot to condemn them to a home loss 

France were winners of the Nations League just six months ago and are now in danger of being relegated from League A 

With just two points on the board and two games remaining – to be played in September – they will be sent down to League B if they don’t improve their position.

They will likely have to win both games – against Denmark and Austria – to be sure of survival. They currently sit bottom of their group, with Austria two points ahead of them.  

Just a game before the Croatia defeat, Deschamps had let his players off the hook for a 1-1 draw against Ralf Rangnick’s Austria, saying he was ‘satisfied’. 

‘From what we were able to do, I am satisfied,’ he said. ‘The players should have been rewarded by the result. In the match, we have done very good things.

‘Austria puts a lot of commitment, intensity. We had total control in the second half. We certainly lacked efficiency, it’s a shame compared to what we did in the second half.’

Deschamps said his side are ‘exhausted’, claiming Antoine Griezmann is ‘not in the best shape’

But he reserved criticism for Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann, admitting his forward was ‘not in the best shape’ after playing just 63 minutes of their 1-1 draw against the Austrians. 

‘I knew he didn’t have 90 minutes in his legs in these games,’ he said, via Diario AS.

‘He is not in the best shape. This shows in his performance and in his influence on the dynamic of the game.’ 

Griezmann is not the only France player to have underperformed during this disappointing Nations League run. 

France have three goals in the four game spell, though despite standout seasons with their clubs, Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe have not had the influence they would have liked.

Benzema scored in the opening game against Denmark – a superbly taken solo goal – before the Danes came back with a vengeance, while Mbappe scored against Austria but has been shackled otherwise.

Karim Benzema (R) and Kylian Mbappe (L) have not given the best account of themselves 

Deschamps – who lost his father this month – has struggled to make his talented squad tick 

Deschamps is blessed with plenty of strength in depth. He has one of the most talented squad in world football, filled with quality to the brim. Real Madrid’s latest starlet Aurelien Tchouameni has featured, while players like Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku and Liverpool’s Ibrahima Konate have also been selected. 

But Deschamps hasn’t managed to get them ticking just yet and has been chopping and changing his squad to ease the squad through their fatigue. 

He made eight changes from the side that drew 1-1 to Austria in their defeat to Croatia, and he has utilised 23 players in total across the four games. 

France were far from full strength against Croatia – missing the likes of Lloris, Varane, Kante, Theo or Lucas Hernandez and Jules Kounde has been ruled out with injury and needs surgery. 

Deschamps will be hoping this blip is just down to tiredness and not a confidence or mentality issue. His team have just two games before the World Cup starts in Qatar later this year and cannot afford any more setbacks. 

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