Karim Benzema and Boubacar Kamara struggled to impress as France slumped to a 1-0 defeat to Croatia on Monday.

France remain winless in their UEFA Nations League campaign after slumping to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Croatia on Monday. It was yet another disappointing result for the current world champions, who have collected only two points in their four matches in the Nations League so far.

Heading into this game desperate for three points, France were handed an early blow when Ibrahima Konate clipped Ante Budimir to concede a penalty in the first few minutes of the proceedings. The early goal gave Croatia the ideal leverage to just sit back and contain the pressure from the opposition.

Desperate to get back into the game, France predictably dominated the proceedings. But they failed to create too many openings in the final third, often lacking the end product even with Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema spearheading the offensive unit.

Attempting 17 shots on goal, the hosts could only muster four shots on target. To put things into perspective, their opponent were able to conjure up three shots on target with just four attempts, which is indicative of France’s lack of productivity in the final third that ultimately led to their downfall on Monday.

Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the French players in their disappointing defeat to Croatia at Stade de France.

Mike Maignan: 7/10

Starting ahead of Hugo Lloris, Mike Maignan could not have done much to deny Modric scoring from the penalty. He was close to saving the effort, but the ball somehow managed to find the back of the net. He did make one good save later in the game and had a relatively quiet evening as Croatia amassed three shots on target.

Jules Kounde: 5/10

Operating in a wider role than usual, Jules Kounde struggled to impose his authority in the defensive unit. He looked out of position on multiple occasions and was not able to fully contain the dangerous Croatian wide players including Josip Brekalo. He was hooked off at half-time by coach Didier Deschamps due to a minor hamstring injury.

Ibrahima Konate: 6.5/10

Ibrahima Konate was culpable of conceding the early penalty that led to Croatia’s opener. However, it was a blip in what was otherwise a hard-working display at the heart of France’s backline. The Liverpool starlet offered excellent covered at the back and recovered multiple balls in the defensive third, although he will be disappointed to have missed a late scoring opportunity.

Presnel Kimpembe: 6/10

Presnel Kimpembe offered the aggression at the heart of the French backline. He tried to impose his authority and had occasional troubles dealing with the runs behind the backline from the Croatian attackers.

Lucas Digne: 6/10

Lucas Digne had an eventful outing. He was involved in the attacking third, making multiple runs across the byline and driving in crosses into the box. But a majority of his balls lacked the end product, while the Aston Villa star was not particularly dominant defensively.

Matteo Guendouzi: 5/10

Matteo Guendouzi was given the nod in the French midfield by Deschamps in order to provide the grit and work ethic. However, the Arsenal midfielder was unable to offer the same qualities as the injured N’Golo Kante in the second line of press and was hooked off late in the game.

Boubacar Kamara: 4/10

Boubacar Kamara had an excellent opportunity to prove his mettle at the highest level of football, as he started as the main holding midfielder for France. But the youngster was unable to control the proceedings and provide any necessary backup for the defenders, often getting overrun by the technically astute Croatian midfielders.

Adrien Rabiot: 5/10

Adrien Rabiot was given the nod in midfield due to his versatility and ability to make driving runs into the final third. Although he did drift in quite regularly, he failed to offer any creativity in the final third apart from the occasional attempt from range.

Christopher Nkunku: 6.5/10

Christopher Nkunku was entrusted with the responsibility of offering the creative essence in the final third. The RB Leipzig playmaker did not disappoint either, offering dynamism and spark in the attack with his clever movements and ability to beat players at will. His link up play with the attackers was also quite promising, although the end product was missing.

Karim Benzema: 5.5/10

Karim Benzema had a quiet game in the French attack. He was not involved much in the proceedings and struggled to make things happen in the attacking third of the pitch, much to the credit of the Croatian defence.

Kylian Mbappe: 6/10

Kylian Mbappe looked quite promising at times with his ability to beat players and test goalkeeper with his attempts on goal. The Frenchman, though, lacked the usual support around him, which led to a rather underwhelming evening for the French attack.

SUBSTITUTES

Aurelien Tchouameni: 6.5/10

Aurelien Tchouameni was brought in at half-time to add more fuel to the French midfield. The youngster offered more dynamism and work-ethic, thus improving France’s second line of press. He should have started the game, to begin with.

Benjamin Pavard: 4/10

Benjamin Pavard replaced Kounde at right-back at the start of the second half. The Bayern Munich man was much more of a natural in that position, but he struggled to offer any solidity in the area.

Kingsley Coman: 6/10

Kingsley Coman added pace and trickery to the French attack after coming on in the second half. He should have started the game instead of Rabiot.

Antoine Griezmann: N/A

A late replacement for Guendouzi. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

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