Footy Times

France and Portugal play out stalemate in the Nations league


Stade de France with 1000 socially distanced fans, witnessed a high-class encounter with an entertaining goalless draw in the Nations league against Portugal for the first time since the euro 2016 final.

France shared points with their euro dream snatcher at home, while their all starred players found no way through the defense of Fernando Santos’ handpicked side.

France, who demolished Ukraine with 7-1 in a midweek friendly unable to show the scoring form with Portugal, who came with their 0-0 draw against Spain in their warm-up friendly.

France and Portugal, with some of Europe’s finest talents, couldn’t find the back of the net in the 91 minutes played match except Pepe’s 74th-minute header with a raised offside flag. Both teams only managed one shot on target in the first half with Ronaldo’s and Griezmann’s attempts.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s shot from Bernando Silva’s 24th-minute flick inside the box denied by Lucas Hernandez and Antoine Griezmann’s shot from a difficult angle on the left is saved by Rui Patricio in the bottom left corner.

Mbappe looked up to break the deadlock early in the second half, with a brilliant piece of skill, but Rui Patricio denied it with an effortless save. Ronaldo nearly scored a match-winner in stoppage time, but Lloris got down sharply to his near post to repel the shot.

Both of the defense stole the show with their excellent works. They denied some of the world’s best striker’s attempts from reaching the goal. Both teams dominated each other in whole matches with a shared possession, in the number of shots and other statistics.

Fernando Santos seemed a little frustrated as his side drew 0-0 with France. He was left underwhelmed by a lack of creativity and “explosiveness” from his team as if he was expecting more of a spectacle.

He said: “It was a very balanced game between two teams that were too cautious, especially in offensive terms.

“It doesn’t seem like too much respect, we had quality players, but it wasn’t a very fast game.

“There was a lack of more aggressive dynamics in the search for the goal. It’s in these games that coaches always want more.

“We had to be organized, sure, but we expected creativity, explosiveness to be unleashed. Both teams played on the back foot a bit too much.

“Whenever the game changed from that, the teams created problems for each other.”

He appreciated his defense,”I think, in general, the team played a great game. The defense did very well”.

“They have a great team, many good players and we managed to control them. We ended up with a draw, we wanted to win, but I don’t think it’s a bad result.”

French Coach Didier Deschamps applauded his team for silencing Ronaldo but accepted his team were short of their best in draw with Portugal
“We can always do better,” admitted Les Bleus boss Deschamps.

“With the quality of the opponent we took precautions, we did not see Ronaldo this evening.

“It was more difficult for the attacking units in this game. Sometimes it is the movements that are not good, sometimes the passes do not arrive.

“We have to do better in the last move to win the match,” he said.

Deschamps appreciated both teams’ excellent defensive works in shutting out the star sided attacking.

“We knew that Portugal was a great team, we must rather talk about the defensive quality of the two teams,” he said.

“The midfielders were very efficient in terms of technical accuracy… they allowed us to have more control, especially in the second half”, he said.

The draw leaves Portugal and France tied on seven points at the summit of Group A3 after 3 games. Portugal will host Sweden when France travel to Croatia on Wednesday

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