Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal will face France in Lisbon in the most important game of their Nations League campaign yet.
The biggest game on Saturday night will see Portugal and France lock horns at the Estadio da Luz in a table-topping Nations League clash in Group A3.
Both teams are level on 10 points at the top of the group after their goalless stalemate in Paris last month. A superior goal difference, however, has given Portugal the nod for first-place. But, with only a game left afterward, the outcome in Lisbon may prove decisive on who reaches the finals.
That, on top of Portugal and France boasting arguably the finest squads in Europe, suggests another close affair is on the cards.
Portugal Form & Stats
A 7-0 friendly win over Andorra on Wednesday was the perfect warm-up for Portugal. They didn’t put a foot wrong in Lisbon, and can now face France brimming with confidence.
Although Fernando Santos denied to RTP of plans to start Cristiano Ronaldo, Joao Felix, Diogo Jota, and Bernardo Silva in a lethal four-man attack. The Portugal boss intends to start ‘only three of the four’ players. But he refused to name which of them would get the drop against France.
Nonetheless, Santos was in an upbeat mood over his side’s chances during his pre-match conference on Friday, given their recent experiences in decisive games and the blooming quality inside his squad.
Portugal’s strong results in the Nations League cannot be overlooked either, having beaten Sweden twice soundly and put Croatia to the sword. Only France have denied the title-holders all three points so far.
Key Team Stats
- Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 17 goals in his last 12 games for Portugal.
- Won their last seven home games in all competitions.
- Kept seven clean sheets in their last eight games in all competitions.
- Won just one of their last 12 games against France in all competitions (D1 L10).
France Form & Stats
The world champions kicked off their preparations for the Lisbon showdown by losing 2-0 to Finland in a midweek friendly. They dominated, but only got three of their 24 shots on target as goals from debutants Marcus Forss and Onni Valakari sealed a shock result in Paris.
It ended a 12-match unbeaten run for Didier Deschamps’ side. They’ve since lost Wissam Ben Yedder to a positive COVID-19 test, and doubts persist over Kylian Mbappe. The PSG striker has struggled with a hamstring problem. But he did take part in the last training session at the Stade de France prior to the trip to Portugal on Thursday.
Mbappe’s possible return, along with Deschamps recalling some rested stars into the line-up, would be a tremendous boost. Nothing has been confirmed on Kylian yet, though. Should he not make it, Anthony Martial may partner Olivier Giroud in the attack.
Key Team Stats
- Lost just one of their last 13 games in all competitions (W10 D2).
- Won their last five away games in all competitions.
- Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, and Olivier Giroud have each scored three goals in the team’s last six games in all competitions.
- Under 2.5 goals in their last five competitive games.
Goalkeepers: Rui Patricio, Anthony Lopes, Rui Silva.
Defenders: Raphael Guerreiro, Jose Fonte, Ruben Dias, Joao Cancelo, Nelson Semedo, Mario Rui, Ruben Semedo, Domingos Duarte.
Midfielders: Joao Moutinho, William Carvalho, Bernardo Silva, Danilo Pereira, Bruno Fernandes, Renato Sanches, Ruben Neves, Sergio Oliveira.
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Joao Felix, Diogo Jota, Trincao, Paulinho, Pedro Neto.
Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris, Steve Mandanda, Mike Maignan, Benoit Costil.
Defenders: Presnel Kimpembe, Leo Dubois, Clement Lenglet, Raphael Varane, Kurt Zouma, Lucas Hernandez, Lucas Digne, Benjamin Pavard, Ruben Aguilar.
Midfielders: Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, Adrien Rabiot, Steven Nzonzi, Moussa Sissoko, Corentin Tolisso.
Forwards: Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud, Kingsley Coman, Anthony Martial, Marcus Thuram.
(Note: The image will change to the official XI once they’re both announced)
3 Players To Watch
Portugal and France have faced each other 26 times in the past. The French are the dominant side, having won 18 times compared to Portugal’s mere 6. Although the hosts are unbeaten in the last two encounters.
Here are results from the last five meetings and head-to-head stats from their recent Nations League games.
|6/7/2006||France vs Portugal||1-0||World Cup|
|11/10/2014||France vs Portugal||2-1||Friendly|
|04/09/2015||Portugal vs France||0-1||Friendly|
|10/07/2016||Portugal vs France||1-0||Euro 2016|
|11/10/2020||France vs Portugal||0-0||Nations League|