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Didier Deschamps has asked his French players to “clear their heads” after Les Bleus’ terrible Nations League title defense was completed by Croatia.
Luka Modric’s penalty kick in the fifth minute at the Stade de France gave Zlatko Dalic’s team a 1-0 victory on Monday, with Croatia getting some degree of revenge for their 2018 World Cup final defeat.
The loss means France can no longer finish at the top of Group A1, and as such prevents them from qualifying for the Nations League finals and retaining their crown.
France are not in action again now until September, when their goal will be to avoid a humiliating relegation from the Nations League’s top tier.
They certainly have work to do on that front as they sit at the bottom of the group after four games, having only mustered two draws and a few defeats this month.
Deschamps seemed to blame fatigue for France’s matches, but also accepted that the players from most other teams would have been in a comparable state physically.
23 – France finished a series of 23 matches with at least one goal (51 in total), the longest in their history. They had not failed to find the net since 11 November 2020 against Finland in a friendly match (0-2). Worrying. #FRACRO pic.twitter.com/5y5Z6t9lO0
– OptaJean (@OptaJean) June 13, 2022
When Deschamps spoke to TF1 full-time, Deschamps said: “This month of June was very difficult in terms of results.
“We did not have enough energy and strength against teams that had more than us. We were not successful either. Above all, it was the freshness that was not there.
“There is always learning to learn from these results. Every match is rich in lessons.
“The order of matches was very tough, we lost players from one match to the next. No doubt other nations were affected [by fatigue].
“[The players] will have to clear their heads and return to their club and start again for this new season. “
The defeat represented the first match since November 2020, in which France failed to score (23 matches).