We are finally down to the last Matchday of the European Championships, where some mouthwatering deciders wait for all between top European teams. There has been pretty much excitement through every fixture of the group stages and now we finally enter into the very last match of it. And it’s a huge contest of the European Titans.
The contest involving the World Cup titleholders France and the recent reigning European Champions Portugal. The two teams square off at the Puskas Arena in Hungary tonight to make it to the knockouts. Portugal will be looking to bounce back from a crushing defeat at the hands of Germany in Matchday Two. Nothing went good for the former titleholders as they scored two own goals all by themselves. They have so far played their worst match in recent times and would be aiming to make a strong statement against France. The O Selecão’s are strong contenders for the title and need to improve gameplay against France to win.
On the other hand, France will also go all-out to win this important match to qualify as the group toppers. They were held 1-1 at Hungary the previous day out after coming back from behind to score the equalizer. The Les Blues were quite wasteful in converting the chances, resulting in a frustrating draw for them. The men in blue literally struggled to get past the solid Hungary defense and lacked creativity upfront. They have to fire on all fronts if they are to win against a strong Portugal side. It remains to be seen who comes out on top in this battle of the champions and regains the top spot.
Why to Watch Out For
There can be absolutely no reasons in the world that might prove to be bigger than watching this heavyweight clash. Two former champions, one of the euros and the other of the World Cup, are locking horns against each other. The fixture can provide plenty of enthusiasm among the fans who seldom witness this heavyweight international clash. And when it’s a decider one, no amount of work can make you stay away from it. Both Portugal and France know that if they win this fixture, they have a sure shot of qualifying as the toppers.
Portugal would be hungry to end the group stages on a high after suffering a heartbreaking defeat against Die Mannschaft. Fernando Santos’s men are one of the favorites in this tournament and are the current titleholders. They swept aside Hungary thanks to a late brace from Cristiano and a Raphael Guerreiro strike to fetch all three points. Their defensive worries have intensified in the Germany match and it’s certainly a thing that needs to be sorted out. This tournament will be the best chance for the golden generation of Portugal to complete a hat-trick of winning international trophies. To sum it up, they now have destiny in their hands and need to beat France if they are to progress to the knockouts being one among the top two teams in the group.
France will also look to seal their spot in the knockouts quite convincingly by winning this tie against Portugal. They started the contest on a positive note by beating the Germans 1-0 but were held by Hungary in the previous Matchday. A team that boasts of a striking trio of Griezmann, Mbappe, and Benzema shouldn’t struggle to score goals upfront. They have to incorporate the habit of converting chances in the opposition box. Many regards the les blues as the most favorite team to win this edition of the Euros. It will be no surprise that the world champions would also be eager to bag this cup under their belt. Deschamps needs to look upon the team and address those controversial issues surrounding the star players which might affect them. All he needs to do is make the squad focus on winning rather than off-field issues.
Fans around the world can certainly expect an enthralling match to take place between these two teams. Stay tuned in for that and don’t miss even a second of the action. The match is scheduled to start at 00:30 IST or 19:00 GMT.
The O Selecao’s are coming onto this high voltage match after suffering a massive defeat at the hands of Germany. They were completely thrashed by the home side who were dominant throughout the match and didn’t let Portugal play their natural game. In fact, no Portugal player could give their best as they were totally suppressed by relentless German attacks. Two own goals from Ruben Dias and Raphael Guerreiro in the first half started the proceedings. In the second half, Kai Havertz and Robin Gosens scored to complete the demolition. There were consolation goals from Portugal also by Cristiano Ronaldo and Diogo Jota in either half. The German kept the lion’s share of the possession and took a whopping 7 shots on target. The Portuguese players had to really toil to keep the Germans at bay.
But the performances of some of the players weren’t up to the mark and they literally made the team down. Nelson Semedo was one of them who played the worst game of his career probably. Pepe and Dias were also not at their defensive best. The forward line lacked much potential due to the bad display from united starlet Bruno Fernandes. In other words, if Portugal is to become the king of Europe again, they need to elevate their gameplay. Santos definitely knows how to make the best out of the players and has been doing that for many years. Undoubtedly, he and his men have set their sights on defeating France tonight and comfortably advance to the Round-of-16. Let’s see if the men in redan green can beat their marquee opponents and book a place in the knockouts.
The Les Blues are facing Portugal after playing out a frustrating 1-1 draw against Hungary in Matchday2 of the Euros. No wonder it was a disgusting result for the French side who are aiming to win this year’s championship. They couldn’t break the resolute Hungarian defense though trying very hard for it and giving their level best. Hungary was the first side to break the deadlock after a blunder from Varane saw Attila Fiola scoring for free. It was indeed a big mistake from the Madrid man who is quite good in defense. France made them pray into the game through an equalizer from Antoine Griezmann which saved them from losing. The away side was maintained their dominancy throughout the match keeping almost 2/3rds of the possession. They also took 15shots at the opposition goal and created a flurry of chances which the forwards failed to capitalize.
Hungary was carried through thanks to some excellent pressing football by them which kept the France attackers at bay. They also parked the bus at times with almost 9 of the 10 players defending. And Deschamps couldn’t employ any strategy which would have helped France to score the winner. The match also saw Ousmane Dembele picking up a knee injury which ruled him out of the Euros. Now, the France side knows that a win against Portugal would guarantee them a group top finish. It’s now up to them to have their fate secured by defeating the Portugal side. Expect them to fight all out to win this mega clash and go into the knockouts.
The former world champions definitely have an upper hand in the history of fixture between these two sides. They have won 19 of the 27 times they have faced each other. Six of the rest were won by Ronaldo’s side while two have ended in a draw. The most recent meeting between these two teams was in the final of the 2016 European championships. Portugal bagged the title thanks to an extra time winner from substitute Eder, a left footed grounder. This time the environment would be quite high as both need to win this match to be the group toppers.
Fernando Santos has to cope without the services of star Manchester City Right back Joao Cancelo. He was tested positive for COVID-19 just before the start of the tournament. Diego Dalot has been called as a replacement and he has joined the side. Apart from this one, there are no known injury cases in the team as of now.
There may be some rotations in the Portugal squad owing to that loss against Germany. Renato Sanches may be brought in place of William Carvalho courtesy of the former’s impressive performances as a substitute. Rafa Silva can also get a chance but that looks grim. Otherwise, Santos is set to go with the same players again.
The two-time world champions would see Ousmane Dembele being ruled out of the remainder of the tournament due to injury. He suffered a knee injury against Hungary and now needs an operation to play again further. Apart from Dembele, Deschamps has a fit squad to choose from.
Didier Deschamps might go into the match against Portugal with an unchanged eleven. There was a hint that Corentin Tolisso might play in place of Rabiot who gave below-par performances so far. Jules Kounde can also play but the chances of it are very low. It’s up to Deschamps to choose who is fit to feature in the starting lineup.
Players to watch out for
When a man of Cristiano Ronaldo’s caliber is there in your team, you definitely deserve to be called as the outright favorites. What an inspiration this man is, even at the age of 36, he seems as lively as before!! Whenever he is playing in any game, the spotlight would be on him to deliver for his side. And he has found his form in this year’s Euros too bagging 2 goals and 1 assist in 2 games.
He is just a fox in the box and can convert even half-chances into goals. Still, his pace and shooting skills are feared by any defender in the world. He has never scored against France to date but would be hoping to break this jinx and grab his 20th goal in the European championships, equaling with German legend Miroslav Klose. Santos would hope for his main man to be on top form tonight.
Bruno Fernandes is another big name in the Portugal squad who has high expectations to perform good in Portugal jersey. After a stellar season with Manchester United, fans will hope him to deliver for the national side also. The playmaker was in good shape against the team’s match against Hungary but has given a shambolic performance in Munich. He would be hungry to put up a solid show on display and become the man to be feared again. It is no hiding that he has the potential to rip apart any defense in the world with his creativity. He needs to create the play for the Selecaos as also keeping an eye not to hold the ball for long. Against France, he would be waiting eagerly to come out on top to help his side secure a knockout berth.
The wonder kid from France has had a sensational season for the Paris outfit and will be looking to replicate that in France colors this euro. When he is on the song, he is a nightmare for the defenders. His darting runs down the wings are an invaluable asset for his team. Mbappe’s great shooting and dribbling skills are the ones which we can stare for long and see. Deschamps always depends upon him to provide France with the much-needed goals upfront. Against Portugal, if France is to do something good, this man has to fire on all fronts for them.
Another Manchester United star, Paul Labile Pogba would be one of the players to watch out for in the France jersey. How so bad he plays for United; this man always turns up on big occasions for the national team. Against Germany, his sensational performance earned him the player of the match award and he was quite worthy of it. His presence in the midfield bolsters the France attack and is quite creative also. Against this mighty Portugal side, he has to deliver an excellent performance in midfield to cut the Portugal supply line. Deschamps want such a strong display from him in this game against the Selecaos.
In all respects, the battle of the champions is going to be quite entertaining and eventful in the Ferenc Puskas Arena. Both sides will be looking to topple each other in this evenly matched contest of the two best teams in Europe. Portugal will be fighting to retain the crown of the European Champions and advance to the knockouts by beating France. The Les Blues, on the other side, is aiming to become Europe’s best at least this time. The two finalists of the previous edition of Euros would renew their rivalry at an early stage in the tournament. Expect a fierce and cagey encounter to occur between these two sides. Let’s see which team eventually qualifies from Group F as the two toppers!!
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