The France team was punished for its defensive errors and its lack of effectiveness, on Sunday, in Denmark (0-2), in the League of Nations. But Austria’s defeat against Croatia (1-3) allows it to retain its place in League A.
The game: 2-0
It was not the best way to close this September meeting, and with just under two months to go before the World Cup (November 20-December 18), the last impression left by the Blues was not reassuring. In the space of three days, and with five changes made to the eleven lined up v Austria (2-0, Thursday), the French team lost everything that had made it strong at the Stade de France: its offensive efficiency but also, and above all, its good defensive capacity. The only consolation of the night came in Vienna, where the Austrians’ defeat by Croatia (1-3) allowed them to keep their place in League A.
On the contrary ? The Blues have too often played like the Blues, and their repeated defensive mistakes, especially from set pieces, have logically been penalized two goals. In the first, Mikkel Damsgaard took advantage of Benjamin Pavard’s poor substitution and William Saliba’s elastic mark to serve Kasper Dolberg after a failed interception attempt by Dayot Upamecano (34th).
In the second, Joachim Andersen, receiving a corner from Christian Eriksen, had plenty of time to serve as a header to Thomas Delaney, whose withdrawal was perfectly exploited by Andreas Skov Olsen (39th). It had already been several times that the Blues defense had been in difficulty during this phase of the game with, each time, a Dane absolutely free of any mark to threaten Alphonse Areola.
By dint of defending haphazardly and returning the ball too easily to the rival, Didier Deschamps’s players lost track of a match that had started well. The Blues coach tried to correct the situation by replacing Eduardo Camavinga and Saliba with Youssouf Fofana and Jonathan Clauss from the break, but yesterday he missed his players too much to challenge the supremacy of Kasper Schmeichel and his team-mates.
Defensive solidity, of course, but also a good dose of realism. In the space of four minutes, Kylian Mbappé (67, 70) and Antoine Griezmann (70) found a way to trip over the Danish goalkeeper… Even if they have extenuating circumstances (14 injuries in this rally), there was something better than this third defeat in six games (two draws and one win) to prepare for the World Cup in Qatar.
The player: Giroud too discreet
It was not certain that he would start again after his forceful performance – punctuated by his 49th goal for the national team – against Austria, and Olivier Giroud (35 years old) it cost him, on Sunday, to withdraw from the game. Associated again with Griezmann and Mbappé, the AC Milan striker had very few interesting balls to exploit, and he was hard to find: no shots, just one ball touched in the opponent’s box. He also made the mistake of fading on Skov Olsen’s game-winning shot. Deschamps replaced him in the 65th minute with Christopher Nkunku.