Portugal vs France clash ended in a 2-2 stalemate with both teams going through to the knockout stages of the tournament. The matchup between the European and World champions was highly anticipated and hyped-up. This tie was a replay of the final of 2016 Euros. It was the perfect opportunity for France to take their revenge by knocking Portugal out of the tournament. But Portugal was prepared and focused on this tie after an embarrassing defeat to Germany.
The game lived up to its hype and the atmosphere in the fully packed ‘Puskás Aréna’ in Budapest, Hungary was electrifying. It was a sight that every football fan loves to see. Both the teams put out a strong starting eleven with so many exciting and world-class players. The game was high-tempo with France pressing high up the pitch. There were many controversial decisions made throughout the game by the referee, Antonio Mateu Lahoz. Ex-Teammates Ronaldo and Benzema scored 2 goals each. Three out of the four goals scored were penalties.
The first big chance of the game was Pogba’s superb through ball to Mbappe who was one-on-one against Patricio. However, the keeper made an excellent save to deny France the opener and later on also made an outstanding save to stop Pogba’s long-range shot. Ronaldo scored the first goal of the game from the penalty spot after a foul by Lloris on Danilo. Karim Benzema equalised for France from the spot-kick just before halftime. The penalty awarded to France looked like a harsh decision after Semedo and Mbappe collided in the box.
Just 2 minutes into the second half, France took the lead through Benzema who was set up by an exceptional through ball from Pogba. It was initially ruled out for offside, but VAR took a look and overruled the decision. Around the hour mark, Portugal was given a penalty after a handball from Kounde. Ronaldo stepped up and fired it into the back of the net to make it 2-2. The match finished even-steven with both teams getting 1 point each.
France, Portugal and Germany were all drawn in the same group F along with Hungary. This group was considered “ The Group of Death”. Germany’s draw with Hungary saw them finishing second with 4 points. France finished on top of Group F with 5 points while Portugal finished third with 4 points but qualified as one of four, best third-placed team. Portugal will face Belgium in the next round whereas France will play Switzerland.
6 KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM A SCINTILLATING 2-2 DRAW IN PORTUGAL vs FRANCE:
1)Ronaldo equals Ali Daei’s record for most international goals in men’s football. He has now scored 109 goals for Portugal and will aim to overtake the record in this tournament.
2)French full-backs are proving to be the major problem for Deschamps. Lucas Digne is injured and Lucas Hernandez has not been promising at Left back. He has tried both Pavard and Kounde at Right Back but their performances have not been up to the mark.
3)Kylian Mbappe has not scored a single goal in this tournament till now. France needs to get him firing in all cylinders going into the important stage of the tournament.
4)Benzema has opened his goalscoring account with a brace. Benzema has carried his lethal form from Real Madrid and is looking sharp in his movement and finishing.
Ronaldo is the leading goal scorer in this competition with 5 goals. He is key to Portugal’s success and his leadership qualities are invaluable to Portugal.
5)Paul Pogba was the difference-maker for France with his world-class passing and vision.
Renato Sanches was everywhere on the pitch for Portugal. His attacking and defensive work
the rate was second to none and his energy is very important in this team’s midfield.
6) N’Golo Kanté and Paul Pogba have started 30 games together. They have never lost a game in this partnership. It will be very difficult for the opposition team to take control of the midfield with these two in the middle.