France 0-0 Portugal
France and Portugal played out a goalless draw at the Stade de France tonight, a result which leaves the two teams locked on seven points.
Nations League: France vs Portugal was the big clash of the weekend, a battle for the lead in Group A3, and while both teams have a glittering array of attacking talent it was the defences and goalkeepers who won the night.
There was no place for France’s 17 year old sensation Eduardo Camavinga, while Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud started up front for Les Bleus. And Portugal lined up with a pretty impressive forward line themselves, led by skipper Cristiano Ronaldo, alongside Joao Felix and Bernardo Silva.
Here at SBOTOP we had the draw at odds of 3.01, but we didn’t expect it to be goalless. But the France vs Portugal highlights tell a story of missed chances, well-organised defences and excellent goalkeepers.
Highlights of the game
In a cautious opening 20 minutes, there was very little goalmouth action, though two Manchester United midfielders tried to create something. The first to take a chance was Paul Pogba who met a cross from Adrien Rabiot but his header flew wide of Rui Patricio’s left-hand post. Then Pogba’s club mate, Bruno Fernandes, took a pass from Raphael Guerreiro and let fly, but his effort was charged down.
Ronaldo was absent during Portugal’s 4-1 rout of Croatia earlier in the campaign, and he’s always the first player the Portugal fans look for on the team sheet, and he soon got in on the act, picking up a ball from Bernardo Silva and shooting from inside the box, but his effort was blocked by a compact France defence.
Portugal continued to press and Nelson Semedo came very close with an angled shot after more good work from Silva, but France had a great chance on the break when Pogba found Griezmann and the Barca striker tested Patricio from a tight angle. The keeper responded well, saving low in his bottom left corner. As half time approached Semedo drew a foul from Lucas Hernandez, and when Fernandes swung the ball into the danger area Joao Felix came close to breaking the deadlock but his effort flew narrowly wide.
Mbappe had been quiet in the first half, but the PSG man went on a mazy run early in the second, which put him through on goal, but his effort from an angle was palmed away by Patricio.
As the second half wore on chances were few and far between, Felix had a shot from distance comfortably saved by Hugo Lloris and, at the other end, Patricio kept out a low skidding shot from Pogba.
After struggling to make an impact Ronaldo almost won it at the death, unleashing a fierce drive which Lloris saved brilliantly at his near post.
Les Bleus warmed up for this game with a 7-1 destruction of Ukraine but the pre-match France vs Portugal betting odds suggested Portugal would provide a much tougher challenge.
In the event, they did, and matched France stat for stat. The two teams had 50 per cent possession each, ten shots each, three on target, three off-target and four blocked.
You can’t argue with the result on those statistics!
The stalemate means France are unbeaten in 11, but their five-match winning streak has come to an end, while Portugal are now unbeaten in six games.
On Wednesday France head to Croatia in the hope of getting back to winning ways, while Portugal host Sweden. The Swedes are now rock bottom and pointless after losing away to Croatia tonight when Andrej Kramaric scored a late winner for the hosts.
Then the domestic competitions are back next week, and we’ll see plenty of the stars on action tonight at their clubs as the big guns jostle for position across Europe’s four big leagues.
In England, Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton have stormed to the top of the Premier League, Real Madrid lead La Liga, Atalanta and AC Milan share the lead in Serie A and Red Bull Leipzig heads up three teams on seven points in the Bundesliga.
The world-class football keeps on coming and we’ll guarantee you some goals next week!
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