Mateo Kovacic started for his country in the UEFA Nations League on Monday, while Thiago Silva came off the bench to help Brazil to another win…
Croatia left it late but ultimately earned a draw against world champions France, the 2018 World Cup finalists both picking up their first points in Nations League Group A1. Kovacic made his second start in four days in midfield and played 70 minutes, though there was no head-to-head battle with club team-mate N’Golo Kante, who wasn’t in the matchday squad for Les Bleus.
Following a goalless and largely uneventful first period in Split, Juventus man Adrien Rabiot opened the scoring early after the restart with a cool close-range finish. Yet Croatia responded strongly with Luka Modric forcing a fine save from Mike Maignan before a VAR-awarded penalty was converted by Andrej Kramaric seven minutes from time.
The result leaves both teams trailing Denmark and Austria in the early standings ahead of the third round of group games later this week.
In the Far East, Thiago Silva was back in action for Brazil as they took on Japan in front of over 63,000 spectators in Tokyo. This latest friendly followed last week’s big win in Seoul and the Selecao came out on top once again as they underlined their credentials as contenders for the winter World Cup with victory in their final action of the summer.
Thiago Silva started on the bench for Tite’s men before replacing Dani Alves for the final 20 minutes with the score still deadlocked at 0-0. Moments after the Chelsea defender’s arrival, Brazil found the breakthrough from the penalty spot after Everton’s Richarlison was upended in the box and Neymar stepped up to convert.
The South Americans had dominated the chances prior to that opener and saw the game out comfortably, registering a 10th away clean sheet in a row.
At the younger age groups, Samuel Rak-Sakyi started for England Under-17s as the young Lions were beaten 2-1 by their counterparts from the USA. Leo Castledine and Zain Silcott-Duberry began on the bench.