The holders of the Nations League, France, didn’t make it to the final four when they lost 1-0 to Croatia at home on Monday, keeping them winless in the competition.
The world champions have now lost two games and tied two games. They have two points and are at the bottom of Group 1, five points behind Croatia, who won thanks to an early penalty by Luka Modric.
Denmark beat Austria 2-0 to stay in first place with nine points. France, which is in danger of being kicked out of the group, can’t catch Denmark with two games left.
With four points, Austria is in third place.
Didier Deschamps changed his team again because he wanted to rest players at the end of the season. In the four games France has played this month, they have never had the best possible lineup.
Before Monday’s loss to the team they beat in the World Cup final four years ago, Les Bleus looked like they were out of ideas in their losses to Denmark, Croatia, and Austria.
After just five minutes, Croatia took the lead when Modric scored a penalty after Ante Budimir was fouled by Ibrahima Konate. It was Modric’s 22nd goal for Croatia in 152 games.
Kylian Mbappe had two chances, but Josip Brekalo of the away team was the most dangerous in the 17th minute.
At halftime, Deschamps made two changes. He put Aurelien Tchouameni in for Boubacar Kamara in the middle, and he put Benjamin Pavard on the right side of the defense for Jules Kounde.
Mbappe had a few more chances, but Ivica Ivusic made easy saves as Croatia kept the game moving quickly.
In a last-ditch effort to get a point, Deschamps took Matteo Guendouzi off and put in Antoine Griezmann with 10 minutes left.
But it was all for nothing because France didn’t score for the first time in their 23 games.
“June was a hard month in terms of how things turned out. We didn’t have enough energy and strength to compete with teams that were better than us “said Deschamps.
“We lost a little bit of confidence along the way, but what we mostly lacked was newness. It’s very hard when you play so many games.”