Portugal vs France: UEFA Nations League Preview and Prediction
Portugal is set to take on France in the UEFA Nations League Group 3, 5th round match at home. The last meeting between the two was a goalless draw and it seems this time, we may see some action happening
France had a poor outing against Finland in their last game as they conceded two and were not able to open their account despite having so many elite players on the pitch.
France coach, Didier Deschamps, would be worried as the last time his side faced Portugal, the French seemed slow in their build-up play and lacked urgency, something that is usually not the case with the 2018 World Cup winners.
Portugal is unbeaten in their last eight and their most recent game looked like a charity one with Ronaldo and co. running riot against Andorra.
Portugal manager, Fernando Santos will be delighted to pick his best XI from a fully fit squad. However, considering several COVID-19 cases breaking out in teams, that may be the only way to get a player or two out of contention for the game.
With several players stepping up recently, Portugal really looks strong now and with Cristiano Ronaldo up front, they could be serious contenders for the upcoming Euros.
Didier Deschamps has several players to worry about. Lucas Hernandez is out, Bayern Munich full-back Benjamin Pavard is sidelined and Equipe de France will be without the services of Presnel Kimpembe, Adrien Rabiot, Kingsley Coman, and Kylian Mbappe. Mbappe’s call-up despite his injury concern was a surprising one but we will have to wait for the manager’s take on it.
Portugal Probable XI:
France Probable XI:
Players to watch out for:
Talking about players to look out for in Portugal and the first player that pops up in our head is Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese skipper is on his way to break the all-time goalscoring record and he will surely have a go at the French backline, especially after missing out on so many close chances.
Joao Cancelo has been phenomenal in the recent games too and he is showcasing his offensive abilities really well. The side has several budding superstars like Joao Felix, Pedro Neto, Diogo Jota, etc. Also one can never ignore Bruno Fernandes’ presence with his recent form at Manchester United.
For Didier Deschamps, the priority would be finding the perfect XI. The French are power-packed in every position and despite injuries, there will be players available in every position.
However, more focus will be on Paul Pogba who is still in search of his best form, and Antoine Griezmann in pretty much the same situation too. Marcus Thuram impressed the France boss and it seems he may have earned another spot in the XI, while Anthony Martial will be expected to produce more on the field.
The game is one of the most crucial ones as far as the Nations League is concerned. Both the teams are equal in points and are separated only by goal difference. France may not have the rhythm but they are the World Cup champions and they know how to fight back.