Modric penalty sinks France

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Didier Deschamps' side had flattered to deceive in its first three matches this month, losing once and drawing the other two, and it was no better against a stubborn Croatia at the Stade de France.

France proved to be its own worst enemy with a needless early penalty concession that Luka Modric took full advantage of five minutes in.

The host's performance was full of bluster but lacked subtlety, with clear-cut chances difficult to come by on another disappointing day for the reigning world champion.

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.


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