Portugal v France
And then there were two! Host nation France will take on the 2004 losing finalists Portugal on Sunday at the Stade de France. The match is being billed as the battle of the number 7s as Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann will go head to head for the first time since May’s Champions League final. A win for Les Bleus would see them join Spain and Germany on three titles. France have won last ten meetings with Portugal, dating back to 1975.
Griezmann scored a brace in France’s semi-final with Germany, making him the tournament’s leading scorer with 6 goals to his name so far. France took an unexpected lead from the penalty spot on the stroke of half time. Their lead was doubled when Griezmann poked home a loose ball after some brilliant work from Paul Pogba.
Samuel Umtiti, winning only his second ever national cap, produced a stand out performance at centre-back and is likely to be preferred to Adil Rami for the final. Moussa Sissoko retained his place in the starting eleven, despite N’Golo Kante being available again after serving a suspension. The Newcastle midfielder’s showing in midfield will certainly have given Didier Deschamps a selection headache.
Despite playing at home, UEFA have classified France as the ‘away’ side for the match, meaning they’ll don their predominantly white strip on Sunday.
Portugal reached their first major tournament final since 2004 with a 2-0 win over Wales. The win was Fernando Santos’ sides’ first in 90 minutes during the entire tournament, but it came just in time. Ronaldo was at his brilliant best, scoring one and assisting the other. His bullet head gave Portugal the lead early in the second half before his mis-hit shot was diverted home by Nani minutes later.
Central midfielder Renato Sanches is expected to start in the final ahead of Andre Gomes. The 18-year-old has been a revelation in France and is the youngest player in the two squads. Real Madrid defender Pepe trained on his own on Friday as he fights to recover from a thigh injury which ruled him out of the semi-final.
England’s Mark Clattenburg will officiate the game. The Premier League referee has shown 13 yellow cards in the 3 matches he has overseen at the tournament.
Portugal predicted line up
France predicted line up
101 Great Goals Prediction: Portugal 1-3 France