France quest of defending their Nations League crown came to an end after Monday’s 1-0 home defeat to Croatia left the finals beyond their reach.
Didier Deschamps’ side had flattered to deceive in their first three matches this month, losing once and drawing the other two, and they were no better against a stubborn Croatia at the Stade de France.
They proved to be their own worst enemy with a needless early penalty concession that Luka Modric took full advantage of five minutes in.
The hosts’ performance was full of bluster but lacked subtlety, with clear-cut chances difficult to come by on another disappointing day for the reigning world champions.
Ibrahima Konate was the guilty party for the penalty as the Liverpool defender clumsily tripped Ante Budimir and, after a long VAR review, Modric just about squeezed his kick past Mike Maignan.
The game became frantic as Les Bleus desperately searched for a leveller, but Ivica Ivusic was not forced into a meaningful save until early in the second half when substitute Aurelien Tchouameni shot straight at the goalkeeper.
It was a sign of renewed purpose, however, and Kylian Mbappe saw a 30-yard strike go agonisingly wide a few moments later.
Yet, Croatia ended up creating the better chances in the closing stages, with Lovro Majer and Nikola Vlasic forcing saves from Maignan as the visitors gained a measure of revenge for their 2018 World Cup final loss.
Meanwhile, Jonas Wind scored one goal and made another as Denmark cruised to a 2-0 win over Austria in their Nations League Group A1 clash at Copenhagen’s Parken Stadium on Monday that leaves the Danes top of the group after four games.
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.
Also, Azerbaijan won its first victory in the UEFA Nations League.
No goals were scored in the first half. The Azerbaijani national team, which started the second half more actively, scored in the 76th minute of the match.
The score in the match was opened by a member of the national team Mahir Emreli. In extra time, Ramil Sheydayev made his way to the opponent’s goal and increased the difference in the score.
Thus, the Azerbaijani team won with a score of 2:0.
In the other game, Iceland and Israel played out a thrilling 2-2 draw in Monday’s UEFA Nations League game.
Jon Dagur Thorsteinsson netted the opening goal in the 9th minute for the host before Daniel Leo Gretarsson leveled parity for the visitor in the 35th minute.
However, Thorir Johann Helgason extended Iceland lead in the 60th minute but Dor Peretz netted the equalizer for Israel in the 66th minute.
Finally, Kazakhstan defeated Slovakia 2-1 on Monday to maintain their unbeaten run in Group C.