France certified for the 2021 UEFA Nations League finals with a 1-0 victory over defending champions Portugal in Lisbon.
The guests had the higher of the primary half as Rui Patricio was twice pressured to hurry from objective to make close-range saves from Anthony Martial. Portugal themselves might have gone forward within the final minute of the half when Cristiano Ronaldo headed over from a nook from simply six yards out.
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N’Golo Kante gave France the lead early within the second half when he tapped dwelling from shut vary after Patrico had parried Adrien Rabiot’s shot. Jose Fonte hit the submit for Portugal quickly after, and the French survived an incessant bout of strain within the final quarter-hour to seal the victory.
France now lead Portugal by three factors in Group A3, and can win this part no matter occurs within the remaining spherical of matches on Tuesday. The 2 groups will subsequent face one another in Budapest within the group levels of the European Championship in June 2021.
Antoine Griezmann and Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal – France
Picture credit score: Getty Photos
Can France add extra titles to their assortment? The Portuguese workforce carry again dangerous reminiscences for France. Simply 4 years in the past they have been sucker punched by a late objective in extra-time from Eder than consigned them to defeat within the last of the European Championship they have been internet hosting. Although whereas that might have despatched most groups into a protracted interval of deep introspection, Didier Deschamps’ aspect bounced again to win the World Cup in Russia in 2018.
Even so, it should nonetheless nag the French that the delayed European Championship that’s scheduled to happen subsequent summer time doesn’t symbolize the possibility to emulate the good Spanish workforce of a decade in the past that sandwiched their World Cup victory in South Africa with back-to-back successes within the European Championship. As an alternative, in 2021 they may have the possibility to be the primary European aspect to carry all three trophies obtainable to a European worldwide workforce at one time.
Nothing is for sure on this world proper now. Soccer’s calendar might have to be adjusted once more, but when issues proceed as at present deliberate Deschamps’ workforce might be among the many favourites to win the continent-wide European Championship in the summertime. Now, after this victory in Lisbon, they’re the primary workforce to qualify for the unique, four-team Nations League Finals being staged 4 months later. When Kylian Mbappe returns to a aspect that outplayed the present European champions and Nations League holders tonight, the possibilities of France securing one or each will solely enhance.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Antoine Griezmann (France): All of France’s greatest moments tonight originated from the toes of Griezmann. He was a relentless drawback for Portugal, flitting round within the hole between their midfield and defence to adroitly knit the French assaults collectively.
Kanté (France) v Portugal
Picture credit score: Getty Photos
Portugal: Patricio 7; Cancelo 7, Fonte 6, Dias 6, Guerreiro 7; Pereira 6, Carvalho 6 Bruno Fernandes 5; Felix 6, Ronaldo 6, Bernardo Silva 5. Subs: Jota 6, Oliveira 6, Trincao 6, Moutinho 6, Paulinho 6
France: Lloris 6; Hernandez 7, Kimpembe 7, Varane 6, Pavard 6; Kante 7, Rabiot 7, Pogba 6, Griezmann 8; Martial 6, Coman 6. Subs: Giroud 6, Thuram 6
12’ – GOOD SAVE! Patricio rescues Portugal once more. France lower proper by the center of the Portuguese workforce, as Griezmann breaks forwards and slides a move between Dias and Fonte to launch Martial into the realm. Martial tries to prod it previous Patricio from eight yards out however Patricio is out rapidly to dam the shot along with his foot.
41’ – EXCELLENT SAVE! France break menacingly down the left as Griezmann finds Hernandez. He fires in an outstanding low cross into the six yard field the place Martial slides in to complete, however Patricio once more parries his effort at level clean vary and Portugal scramble the ball out for a nook.
45’ – CHANCE! Cancelo wins one other nook for Portugal. Fernandes whips the ball proper onto the six-yard line the place Ronaldo rises, however can solely information his header a yard over the bar. He ought to no less than have hit the goal there.
54’ – GOAL! Portugal 0 France 1 (Kante 54). France take the lead! After a affected person bout of possession Griezmann finds Rabiot on the fitting of the realm with a pleasant reverse move. Rabiot drills a shot to the far nook that Patricio can solely parry, and Kante follows in to faucet dwelling the rebound!
57’ – CHANCE! That might have been the match. Rabiot will get in area on the left and picks out Pogba with a stunning cross. From solely six yards out, Pogba mistimes his header utterly and might solely ship it softly at Patricio.
60’ – OFF THE POST! After Lloris parries away a 40 yard shot from Fernandes, Portugal cross it straight again into the field the place Fonte crashes a header off the submit and out from six yards away.
75’ – GOOD SAVE! Ronaldo has been peripheral, however out of the blue snaps into life right here; he dances previous three on the fitting of the French space earlier than laying it off to Moutinho on the sting. Moutinho wallops a ferocious drive to the highest left nook and Lloris dives at full stretch to parry the ball away from objective.
- Kante’s second half strike ended the Portuguese run of 507 minutes with out conceding a objective.
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