Didier Deschamps made a 10 changes to the side that lost 2-1 to Denmark at the Stade de France last time out as Aurelien Tchouameni was the only one to keep his place in the starting XI. However, Les Bleus were unable to produce a much-improved performance as they were held in by Croatia in Split.
Someone who did impress, however, was Adrien Rabiot, who scored France’s opening goal with an excellent curling effort from the edge of the box. He was played through on goal by Wissam Ben Yedder before calmly slotting the ball with his left foot beyond a hapless Dominik Livakovic.
Rabiot also looked composed in possession and showed signs of why Manchester United and Chelsea are reportedly interested in signing him this summer. The 27-year-old could be allowed to leave Juventus with Paul Pogba expected to re-join the club from the Red Devils and Rabiot did no harm with his chances of finding a new side with his performance for his nation.
He also completed four successful dribbles, made three tackles and completed 25 passes throughout the game. Rabiot, who usually plays in a midfield two, featured on the left flank for his country with Tchouameni and Mateo Guendouzi deployed as the central midfield pairing instead.
Christopher Nkunku featured in the No. 10 role from the start, while Newcastle -linked winger Moussa Diaby began from the right with Ben Yedder up front. But it was Rabiot who impressed most out of the attack-minded players and looked sharp despite his lack of football in recent months.
Meanwhile, it proved to be a frustrating cameo appearance for Antoine Griezmann, who could also be set for a move away from Atletico Madrid this summer. The 31-year-old came on for the final 28 minutes but squandered an excellent chance to win the game as he took the ball around the goalkeeper but steered his effort wide.
France had the narrow lead courtesy of Rabiot’s second goal for his country before former Leicester striker Andrej Kramaric levelled from the penalty spot in the 83rd minute. He was fouled by Jonathan Clauss inside the area and stepped up to convert his 19th goal for his nation.
The result leaves France third in their group with Ralf Rangnick’s Austria top on goal difference, Denmark second and Croatia fourth. Reflecting on his side’s performance, Deschamps said : “The result brings regrets even if our end to the match was much less consistent than the 80 minutes before when we had done good things, obviously taking into account the number of substitutions.
“We had two 2-0 chances, but that’s football too. We could have lost the match at the end also by conceding situations against this Croatian team after the penalty. But it was consistent, we had good control, chances, even if in the first period we can avoid some loss of ball. I can’t be completely satisfied, but overall there is a lot more positive.”