Euro 2016 Final: Portugal vs France

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Portugal face the home nation France in the final at the Stade de France after victories over Wales and Germany respectively. The French will be looking to make it three wins from three at home championships, while Portugal will be looking to go one better than 2004 when they lost in the final to surprise package Greece.

Portugal

The Portuguese will have William Carvalho back from suspension to strengthen midfield, but are still sweating on the fitness of Real Madrid star Pepe. Bruno Alves will come in should the center back not make it.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos’s team has the feel of that 2004 Greece side. They have played tight, unattractive football yet have somehow ground they’re way to a final against a home side full of flair. They have utilized set pieces and crosses rather than slick passing to get this far. Star man Cristiano Ronaldo has been used as a target man with winger Nani as support. This worked well against a tired Wales team with Ronaldo scoring a towering header from a corner and his former Manchester United teammate Nani deflecting in his shot on goal.

Portugal-v-Wales-Euro-2016-semi-finals-1
Ronaldo celebrating his goal against Wales.

France

France are without any injury worries before the game. Coach Didier Deschamps should name the same team that beat Germany 2-0. Samuel Umtiti will keep his place in the team ahead of Adil Rami after coming through the Semi-Final with Germany with a clean sheet.

After a slow start, the French have improved game after game. Despite being dominated in possession by Germany they took the lead through an Antoine Griezmann penalty just before half time. The Atleti man took his goal tally in the tournament to six when he poked home in the 72nd minute. “Grizou” has been the star of the show for France this tournament and is surly a contender for the Ballon d’Or.

France's Antoine Griezmann scores the opening goal from the penalty spot during the Euro 2016 semifinal soccer match between Germany and France, at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille, France, Thursday, July 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
France’s Antoine Griezmann scores the opening goal from the penalty spot against Germany.

Prediction

Portugal have a horrible record against the French, their last win coming back in 1975. The French have the players to continue that record and should see off Portugal late in the game. It might not be a classic, but it shouldn’t be another 2004. This time the best team will win.

 

France 2-0 Portugal.

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