EURO Preview: France x Portugal

Defending champions Portugal need to avoid defeat in their final Group F game against France to guarantee advancing at EURO 2020.

France can secure top spot in the group with a victory.

NOTES (via UEFA.com)

Tonight is a repeat of the UEFA EURO 2016 final on Match Day 3 in Budapest as holders Portugal meet the team they beat to the title in the last tournament, France, in the concluding round of Group F games.

• Portugal picked up their first major silverware on French soil thanks to Éder’s extra-time winner at the Stade de France on 10 July 2016, denying France a second home EURO title and a third overall.

• Didier Deschamps’ France gained a measure of revenge by ending Portugal’s defence of the UEFA Nations League, taking four points off Fernando Santos’s side in autumn 2020 to qualify for the Finals ahead of their opponents.

• France are top of Group F on four points, one above Portugal and Germany, although they were held 1-1 by Hungary in Budapest on Matchday 2 having opened with a 1-0 defeat of Germany in Munich. Portugal beat Hungary 3-0 in their opening game in Budapest but were then beaten 4-2 by Germany in Munich.

• France are through and will finish first if they win, or if they draw and Germany do not beat Hungary. If France lose and Hungary win, second place will be decided on overall goal difference.

• Portugal will go through if they avoid defeat. They will finish first if they win and Germany do not. Portugal will finish fourth if they lose and Germany also lose.

Previous meetings

• Going into the final of UEFA EURO 2016, France had won ten successive matches between the sides, and have still triumphed in 19 of the nations’ 27 meetings (D2 L6).

• Despite losing talisman and captain Cristiano Ronaldo to injury with only 25 minutes played in that final, Fernando Santos’s Portugal claimed the trophy thanks to a 109th-minute strike from substitute Éder – who had spent the second half of the 2015/16 season playing in France for LOSC Lille, and whose goal was his only competitive strike for his country.

• That ended a French winning streak against Portugal that had stretched back over 40 years to a 2-0 friendly success for Portugal at the Parc des Princes in April 1975, Nené and Marinho scoring the goals.

• That long sequence of France wins against Portugal included victories in the semi-finals at the UEFA European Championship in 1984 (3-2) and 2000 (2-1) – when current coach Didier Deschamps was Les Bleus’ captain – in addition to a 1-0 victory at the same stage of the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Zinédine Zidane converted penalty winners in each of the last two games.

• France had therefore won all three of their competitive matches against Portugal before the UEFA EURO 2016 final.

• The last friendly between the sides ended in a 1-0 France win in Lisbon in September 2015, Mathieu Valbuena scoring the only goal.

• Karim Benzema scored past Rui Patrício in France’s 2-1 friendly win against Portugal at the Stade de France on 11 October 2014.

• After a goalless UEFA Nations League draw at the Stade de France on 11 October 2020, France’s N’Golo Kanté scored the only goal after 53 minutes at Lisbon’s Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica on 14 November to secure first place in Group A3 and a place in this autumn’s final tournament.

EURO facts: Portugal

• A 2-0 semi-final win against Wales was Portugal’s only victory inside 90 minutes at UEFA EURO 2016; before Matchday 1, it was the only one of their previous eight EURO finals matches that was not all square after 90 minutes.

• At UEFA EURO 2016, Santos’s side had finished third in Group F behind Hungary and Iceland having drawn all three games, before beating Croatia 1-0 after extra time in the round of 16 and Poland 5-3 on penalties after their quarter-final had finished 1-1.

• Santos went on to guide Portugal to victory in the inaugural UEFA Nations League in 2019, the hosts beating Switzerland 3-1 in the semi-finals before a 1-0 final defeat of the Netherlands.

• Portugal were Group B runners-up in UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying, finishing three points behind Ukraine and three ahead of Serbia. Portugal drew their first two games, both at home, against Ukraine (0-0) and Serbia (1-1), but won five of the next six (L1).

• The 4-2 defeat in Germany on Matchday 2, in a game Portugal had led 1-0, was only their second defeat in 24 EURO matches (W16 D6), the other a 2-1 qualifying reverse in Ukraine on 14 October 2019.

• Cristiano Ronaldo scored 11 qualifying goals, one behind top scorer Harry Kane of England, and has three at these finals.

 

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Author: Administrator