N’Golo Kante and Olivier Giroud helped France get their Nations League campaign off to a winning start, but there was disappointment for Mateo Kovacic and Andreas Christensen with their national teams.
Both Kante and Giroud were in the starting line-up for Les Bleus for their match away at Sweden, picking up their 40th and 98th international caps respectively, and helping their country to a narrow 1-0 win.
It was a frustrating evening for much of the game, as Sweden proved a stubborn opponent to break down despite Giroud linking up well with Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe in attack, but the latter broke the deadlock with a solo goal five minutes before half-time.
Kante featured for the whole match, while Giroud was replaced by Steven Nzonzi in injury time, shortly after Griezmann had missed the opportunity to extend their lead from the penalty spot.
Christensen played the full 90 minutes for Denmark but couldn’t prevent them losing 2-0 at home to Belgium as they had a difficult debut in the Nations League’s top flight, having earned promotion last time around.
Kovacic suffered a similar disappointment as he featured throughout for Croatia, who suffered a 4-1 defeat away at reigning Nations League champions Portugal, with some key players missing on both sides.
Earlier in the day, Mason Mount was an unused substitute as England began their campaign with a 1-0 away win over Iceland.