UEFA National League championships title fail and burn following the demise of their bid for consecutiveness, France start League A Group 1 responsibility as they welcome Austria on Thursday night.
While their opponents, who are now in third place with four points, are not much better off, Les Bleus are facing the possibility of a painful relegation to League B.
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Didier Deschamps saw his team fall to the bottom of the Nations League standings as a result of France remaining winless throughout the entire month of June, despite the goal-scoring prowess of Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe.
Although scheduling four Nations League games immediately following a busy domestic season may have contributed, the Bleus team just could not gel in the summer, and top spot is now firmly out of their reach.
With only two points from the first twelve available, France lost 1-0 to Croatia on matchday four, capping off a terrible month of June. Luka Modric’s penalty kick in the fifth minute gave the Chequered Ones some measure of retribution for their World Cup final loss in 2018. However, France still has a World Cup trophy to defend before the year is out. Australia, Denmark, and Tunisia are all looking to capitalize on Les Bleus’ recent struggles in Group D. Their Nations League title will soon pass to another team.
In the Nations League, France is currently in danger of losing three straight games at home, which would only intensify calls for Zinedine Zidane to replace Didier Deschamps as the team’s head coach after Qatar.
France did, after all, go through a five-game losing streak as recently as 2021. If Austria wins this week, it would formally demote France to League B. However, Ralf Rangnick’s team is not quite out of the woods, as Das Team lost their final three Nations League games back in June.
Austria took just one point out of the next nine available after winning 3-0 against Croatia to start the 2022–23 tournament, and their most recent match ended in a 2-0 loss to Denmark thanks to goals from Jonas Wind and Andreas Skov Olsen.
Turkey, this time’s top-ranked third-tier nation, was expected to be promoted back to League A after being relegated to League C in the Nations League.
The Faroe Islands, Luxembourg, and Lithuania have all been defeated by Stefan Kuntz’s club, which has won four of its last four games while scoring 14 goals without being answered (twice).
Rangnick will get his team ready for two friendlies with other absentees from Qatar, Andorra and Italy, in November because Das Team won’t have the World Cup to focus their competitive energy on.
Das Team had only one win in their previous six games across all competitions, which is not encouraging before a trip to the Stade de France, but they had won five straight Nations League games away from home before losing to Denmark.
In a 1-1 draw with France three months ago, a late Mbappe goal proved to be the difference, and Austria have lost four straight games to France on the road since defeating them 2-1 in a 1965 friendly.
Deschamps can still draw from a wealth of talented players even though many of the top players are out due to injury. These players already have plenty of incentive to perform well because World Cup spots are on the line.
Due to the absence of Kalajdzic and the fact that Austria is also without a number of seasoned international players, we believe Les Bleus will make up for the summer’s mistakes and increase their chances of making the playoffs with a convincing victory.
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