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Meanwhile, in the defensive unit, Dalic could strengthen the backline by recalling Domagoj Vida at the expense of Marin Pongracic. The experienced center-back should accompany the equally uncompromising Duje Caleta-Car at the heart of the four-man backline.
Unfortunately for the home side, the highly talented Josko Gvardiol is facing fitness issues and could be ruled out against France. Dalic may also withdraw Borna Sosa from the starting eleven and give the nod to Borna Barisic, who is a more all-around option at left-back.
It wasn’t a good start for France as they lost 2-1 to Denmark. But more importantly, their star player Kylian Mbappe picked up a knock while Raphael Varane also recently suffered a thigh injury. The latter has been already ruled out, with Ibrahima Konate set to replace him in the squad.
The situation of Mbappe still remains unclear and given the strenuous fixture list that awaits, the Frenchman is unlikely to be risked on Monday. It could potentially pave the way for someone like Christopher Nkunku to make an impression on the night.
Manager Didier Deschamps, who is back with the squad after missing the Denmark game due to the death of his father, will not have too many reasons to tinker with the wing-backs in Kingsley Coman and Theo Hernandez as they offer the width and quality going forward. But in order to make up for Coman’s lack of defensive nous on the right flank, Benjamin Pavard may have to bear additional responsibility.
The Bayern Munich ace should feature on the right side of the three-man French backline, consisting of him, Lucas Hernandez and Presnel Kimpembe, who should replace Jules Kounde on the left-hand side of the back three.
- Croatia have never won against France at the international level, losing six of their eight meetings between the two sides, including the 2018 World Cup final.
- Croatia and France have met each other twice in the UEFA Nations League before, with France winning both the matches on a 6-3 aggregate.
- France’s defeat to Denmark was the first loss in a ninety-minute game in almost three years.
- Croatia’s defeat to Austria was also their first loss on the international stage since their 5-3 drubbing at the hands of Spain UEFA Euro 2020 last year.
- With 127 games in charge of the French national team, Didier Deschamps is one of the longest-serving international coaches in Europe.
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France are not in the best of touch recently, and a game against the 2018 World Cup finalists won’t make life easier for the visitors, regardless of their opponent’s performance against Austria. With Zlatko Dalic set to field a much stronger lineup this time around, Les Bleus could be in for a tough time.
We are expecting a cagey encounter at Stadion Poljud, with chances likely to come at a premium. While France may dominate possession, Croatia will pack a punch on the counter. The two sides may ultimately cancel each other out and share the spoils on Monday.