sterile reunion for the Blues against Portugal

Little sharp for the return of Portugal to Saint-Denis four years after the loss of 2016, the Blues conceded the draw against the Selecçao of Cristiano Ronaldo (0-0), Sunday, October 11 in the League of Nations. The reunion in eight months at the Euro promises to be undecided.

“There is quality on both sides, it could have changed. We took the upper hand in the second half when we were higher, but without being able to create a huge gap, like them ”, summarized on M6 the coach Didier Deschamps, unhappy finalist of Euro-2016 against the gang of “CR7”.

This time around, there was no Eder in the Portuguese ranks to tip the game on the wrong side. There was no overtime either to tip him over, or thousands of spectators to make him pant, restrictions oblige. There was, however, an impeccable Hugo Lloris to deflect a strike from Ronaldo at the last minute and prevent the Blues from another stinging defeat.

After 90 minutes of a more physical than technical fight where the European champions will have looked the world champions in the eye, it was therefore necessary to postpone the revenge for later.

PSG prodigy Kylian Mbappé would no doubt have liked to strike a blow against his youth model Ronaldo, but he had too few opportunities to hope for anything better, four days after his goal at the festival offensive against Ukraine in a friendly (7-1).

The first place in the League of Nations group therefore remains in possession of the Selecçao with the difference in goal, and the Blues will not have the right to make mistakes on Wednesday against Croatia in Zagreb. The return match in Lisbon, on November 14, will be even more crucial because it already promises to be a group final, and because the winner will take a clear ascendancy over the loser before the reunion that will follow behind, on June 23, 2021 in closing of group F of the Euro.

Mute executives

One of the satisfactions for the France team will still remain to have been able to muzzle Ronaldo, who has therefore still not scored against the Blues. The superstar with 101 international goals, however, had 90 minutes this time to open his counter, against only 25 on July 10, 2016, on the evening of the Portuguese coronation he had to celebrate from the sidelines, injured.

There will still be a little disappointment on the side of Deschamps, who had rarely had such a complete squad at his disposal since the World Cup, which was good, given the pedigree of the evening opponent and the deadline for the ‘Euro approaching.

The coach had said on Saturday, this autumn summit would allow “To assess the forces of the moment”. Maybe he was already thinking about “Forces of the future”, because the eleven aligned on Sunday had quite the appearance of the one who could start the European Championship in June, with nine of the 11 holders of the Moscow final on the lawn at kick-off, plus Presnel Kimpembe and Adrien Rabiot.

But despite the presence of all the executives, he lacked the energy, inspiration and a good dose of movement to the Blues to hope to unblock the meeting.

The 117e by Lloris

Despite a second period more animated than the first, the match was still long summed up in a bitter battle of duels. Olivier Giroud also left a little blood there, on a nudge from Ruben Dias, from the second minute. Lucas Hernandez, he left his guts there, on a valuable intervention to counter a recovery of Ronaldo (24e), one of the only chances of the match for the ogre of Juventus Turin.

Mbappé could have scored without a good save from Rui Patricio (47e), just like Paul Pogba, holder for the first time in sixteen months in the selection (76e). Conversely, Pepe believed to open the scoring but he was in an offside position (73rd), and Atlético Madrid hope Joao Félix stumbled on Lloris (72e), excellent for its 117e selection, a figure only reached by Lilian Thuram (142) and Thierry en Henry (123).

The coming into play of Anthony Martial and Kingsley Coman certainly confirmed the French ascendancy of the second half, but that proved insufficient to unlock the counter. This is not so serious: the Blues will have two more duels against the Portuguese this season to do so.

The World with AFP


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