Trez bags a point for Les Bleus
By James Pearson
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Igor Tudor's own goal put Les Bleus ahead at half time, but goals straight after the interval from Milan Rapaic and Dado Prso gave Otto Baric's men a remarkable advantage.
Croatia's lead did not last and David Trezeguet ended his personal goal drought by seizing on a poor back pass to roll the ball into an empty net and square the contest.
France started in confident fashion, following their last-gasp win over England, with Thierry Henry and Sylvain Wiltord running at Croatia with purpose.
Tudor was looking strong for Otto Baric's side, although he was helpless to prevent Henry collecting a pass from outside the area before firing just wide on the volley.
Dado Prso's industrious work up front was carving out half chances for Croatia, however their lack of pace often let them down as they neared Fabien Barthez's goal.
The majority of the chances were coming from long-range with Wiltord firing well wide after bursting into the box, while Giovanni Rosso shot off target from distance.
France's inevitable goal arrived when Zidane's free-kick was inadvertently diverted into his own net past Tomislav Butina by Tudor after his trailing leg caught the ball.
The strike was very similar to Torsten Frings's goal for Germany against Holland with a dangerous free-kick being played towards the back post splitting the defence and keeper.
Croatia responded, but despite Milan Rapaic seeing a lot of the ball in midfield the team's play in the final third was letting them down.
It was almost two for France just before the break when Henry's left wing corner was cleverly flicked on at the near post by Zidane for Williams Gallas to somehow miss with a close-range header.
Croatia came out with purpose after the break and were gifted a chance to equalise when Kim Milton Nielsen pointed to the spot after Mikael Silvestre brought down Rosso.
Unlike David Beckham, who missed against France on Sunday, Milan Rapaic made no mistake with his penalty and guided a left-footed shot past the diving Barthez.
Within minutes Croatia were ahead when Prso capitalised on Marcel Desailly's disastrous clearance to hammer an unstoppable shot past Barthez from close-range.
It was no more than their enterprising second half play deserved, although it only kicked France into action who struck back with venom.
Wiltord broke down the right and his cross was inches from connecting with a colleague before Butina got a foot on the ball and cleared the danger.
Vieira surging run then created a chance for Henry, but the Arsenal man struck his fierce shot wide from distance.
Just when it looked like France might not force their way into the contest they were given another helping hand by Tudor with some poor defending.
The defender played a dreadful back-pass to Butina that was capitalised on by Trezeguet, who collected the ball off the keeper and slid the ball into the empty net.
Croatia were unhappy as Butina's clearance appeared to catch Trezeguet's hands as he controlled the ball. Robert Kovac receiving a yellow card for his protests.
Both managers made a host of changes bringing on fresh legs as each side looked for that elusive winner.
It almost arrived in the dying minutes, however Butina made a fine save away to his right to deny Henry with a strong left hand from close range.
Substitute Ivica Mornar should have given Croatia the three points when he superbly controlled the ball in the penalty area, but with just Barthez to beat from a few yards out he blazed over.
The points leaves France in a strong position to qualify from Group B, while England need just a point from their final game against Croatia in order to advance.