France qualify for Nations League Final Four after win in Lisbon
France march onto the Final Four of the 2020/21 Nations League with a 0-1 win over reigning champions Portugal
Sweden managed to win their clash over Croatia, so after five games, this is how the League A/Group 3 table looks like:
Decent game of football here tonight as the whistle sounds and in the end it's the world champions who prevail over the Euro. champions in Lisbon.
On the balance of play, a win for the visitors is probably a fair result with Portugal only waking up when trailing.
Four minutes of time will be added.
The clock is against Portugal now as the maintain the search for a lifeline.
The incident incidentally happened inches outside the penalty area as Cancelo clips Hernandez.
Call for a penalty as Trincao is clipped in the box, the former SC Braga man keeps on his feet and the ref. waves play on.
Croatia have pulled one back against Sweden and now trail the Scandinavian side by 2-1.
Olivera also on for Danilo as Santos throws everything on attacking minded players with Portugal desperate for a goal.
Joao Felix off for Braga's Paulinho
Portugal push again with Trincao making an immediate impact since coming on for the home side.
Ronaldo goes close again as the ball fizzes by and is inches away from being nodded home by the Juve striker.
Hernandez carded as he clips Jota.
Sweden still lead Croatia by 2-0 and it's the Balkan outfit who now prop up the table.
That card will see the French goal scorer miss the game vs Sweden next week.
Kante fouls Danilo and is carded for his effort.
Giroud on for Martial.
Ronaldo goes close but Kimpembe is there to defend the danger as both player collide.
15 minutes remain in Lisbon as Lloris saves well as Portugal press looking for an equaliser. A defeat here for the reigning champions would surely end their chance of defending their trophy in the Final Four tournament next year.
A discreet second half to date from Cristiano Ronaldo adding fuel to the flames of those who state that the senior striker no longer has 90 minutes in his boots these days.
Double change for Portugal will now take place as Bernardo Silva is replaced by Trincao with Fernandes subbed by Moutinho.
Moutinho and Trincao will both take to the field.
Portugal set to make more changes as Santos looks to bring on Trincao
Pogba laments a missed chance during the game vs Portugal in Lisbon.
Patient play from France as they work the ball through to Griezmann but once again Rui Patricio was alert to steer the ball away from the danger zone.
The France goal has been instrumental in adding a spark to the action as the game becomes more stretched.
It was Fonte who struck the woodwork with a downward header after Lloris pushed away a Raphael Guerreiro strike as Lloris is carded for time wasting
Portugal hit the woodwork after a fine save from Lloris.
Another change as France switch Coman for Thuram
Wonderful ball from Rabiot who finds the rushing Pogba with the Man United player unable to get his head properly on the ball. Fine performance from Rabiot tonight.
Carvalho off / Jota on
Griezmann fires the ball over with his favoured left foot as Portugal get Jota ready to make an entrance.
France, on the balance of play deserve to be ahead but a major blow for Rui Patricio who saved the home side on a number of times in the first 45'.
Very patient build-up here from France as they move the ball from side to side looking for a chink in the sea of red shirts.
Jota warming up for Portugal as Bernardo Silva unleashes a shot which ricochets into Lloris' hands. The Liverpool striker has made an impressive start with Liverpool and could add some attacking threat for the Portugal side tonight.
Kimpembe and Fernandes clash heads but both players seem ok to carry on.
Felix fouled by Varane and danger for the French side as CR7 is poised to take the resulting free-kick. The Juve striker goes for goal and the ball drifts just inches wide.
No changes at the break.
The sides return to the Estadio da Luz pitch with the start to the second underway with Portugal starting the action.
On paper at least, Portugal's away trip to Croatia is a tricker affair with France facing Sweden at home.
Live League A-Group 3 table
Sweden scored in added time at the end of the first half and now lead Croatia 2-0 at the break
A decent 45' of football with both sides creating good chances. Rui Patricio the standout player for the home side keeping the French men at bay.
The whiste sounds in Lisbon and it's 0-0 at the interval
Danilo carded for an earlier rash challnege
Portugal go close as Ronaldo rises well and heads inches over the bar. The closest for the home side tonight.
Sweden lead Croatia 1-0 to move off the bottom of the group.
Possession: POR 48-52 FRA (%), possession now swinging the way of France.
Great save from Rui Patricio as France conjure up a well worked move. Martial again almost finds the net as the Wolves keeper opens his body to stop the effort who collides with the United striker. Fine delivery from Hernandez who has looked threatening on his left flank.
Into the final minutes of what has been a decent half with France feeling they should be ahead with Martial and coman going close for the world champions.
Lovely counter from Portugal and a decent delivery from Ronaldo as he wins a corner for his side. T ball drifts across the French goal-mouth from a Carvalho header but drifts wide.
Fernando Santos gets up from the bench to remonstrate with his side. The home side very much on the back foot for most of the half so far and the head coach far from happy with what he sees.
Corners: POR 3-2 FRA
France do deserve to be ahead based on the balance of play so far.
Carvalho fouls Pogba just outside the Portugal box and present the visitors with a fine chance as Griezmann will take the resulting dead ball. Well worked as Griezmann lofts the ball and finds Rabiot who nods the ball is back as Martial hits the bar. A move straight from the training ground and almost comes off for Les Bleus
Martial almost opens the scoring with his fight footed drive finding the side netting
Germany, France, Portugal and Hungary will all meet in next year's delayed Euro 2020 championship with all four sides pitted in the same group together.
The striker drives the ball into the wall with the follow-up driven wide.
Hernandes fouled by Pavard and it's in ideal territory for Ronaldo. Danger here as the Juve striker stands over the ball.
Looking for goal 103 for Portugal tonight
Portugal break as Carvalho delivers a sublime assist which finds Joao Felix. The Atleti striker looks for Cristiano but France clear. The ball lands for Bruno Fernandes who rifles the ball straight at Lloris. Better from the home side.
Rabiot heads just wide as France threaten once again. Rui Patricio well beaten with Pogba getting in the Juventus' mans way.
Portugal now regroup after those efforts from the French side. At present the world champions shading the European champions.
France almost go ahead as Martial sees his shot saved by the Portugal stopper with his legs. Great work from the French side with a delightfully threaded ball from Griezmann and a fine stop from the Wolves No 1.
Great shot from Coman as he forces Rui Patricio to palm over the bar as the men in white are awarded a corner. The game moving with an ebb and flow as both sides enjoy minutes of domination.
The winner of the group will be decided on head to head should both France and Portugal remain tied on points. A score draw will put the French top of Group 3 (League A)
France now being pressed back as Portugal press higher with Ronaldo getting involved in the action. Ref. has a word with France's Hernandez as he goes in with his studs showing.
Ronaldo feels he was fouled on the edge of the box but the match official waves play on, CR7 most unhappy with the decision.
Ronaldo with the first shot of the night as he forces a decent save from Lloris.
The recent meeting in Paris was very much a game of two halves with Portugal the better side in the first 45' with Deschamps' men very much in charge in the second period. It ended 0-0.
Good work from France with a patient build-up just let down by a poor final ball.
France enjoying the better of the early possession with every shout of the players audible in the vast empty Da Luz ground.
France in their change kit tonight with Les Bleus transforming for the game into Les Blancs. Portugal in their classic red shirts/green shorts and red socks.
Off we go in Lisbon
This man has bagged 102 international goals but yet to find the next vs France
Tonight's referee is German Tobias Stieler
No fans tonight sadly at the Estadio da Luz with Portugal experiencing a rise in local Covid-19 cases. A shame but understandable given the nature of the pandemic and we can bity hope that 2021 will see and end to the virus that has affected us all.
AS English pre-game prediction: I see Portugal edging things tonight in a tough fought contest but the home side to sneak a win:
Portugal 1-0 France
The teams are on the Da Luz pitch as we'll have the national anthems.
Previous key Portugal-France meetings:
Portugal fans will look back at the 2016 final where Fernando Santos' men claimed their first European Championship as France supporters will point to the last time 'Les Bleus' faced Portugal in Lisbon in 2015 where they recorded a 0-1 win.
Griezmann's problem is nothing to do with ego - Montanier
Philippe Montanier, who coached Griezmann at Real Sociedad from 2011 to 2013, has defended the player amid his struggles at Barcelona.
Lisbon weather for PORFRA: A mild evening in the Portuguese capital with a 31% chance of rain during the action
Things could not be tighter at the top of the group with the Portuguese side having the better goal difference which sees Fernando Santos' men lead League A / Group 3
France's last run of games with the midweek friendly shock defeat at the hands of Finland not inluded.
Portugal's last run of five games, with the midweek thrashing of Andorra not included
Coman and Martial for Giroud and Mbappé are the two changes in to the France side from that that took to the field against Portugal last month in the Paris 0-0 stalemate.
Portugal head coach Fernando Santos at the Estadio da Luz ahead of the game
Tonight's game is very much a case of winner takes all with a win putting the victor in the driving seat in the 2020/21 Nations League Final Four which is set to be staged next year (October with the venue still yet to be decided by UEFA).
Here's how League A-Group 3 looks ahead of tonight's games:
Despite the PSG man being included in Didier Deschamps’ squad for the double-header against Portugal and Sweden, a muscle injury sustained against Nantes in Ligue 1 and has been definitely ruled out of the top-of-the-table clash in Lisbon, where a match-up with his childhood idol Cristiano Ronaldo was waiting.
Very few games in world football offer such a wide array of world talent on one pitch at the same time.... Cristiano, Pogba, Joao Felix, Griezmann, Martial, Fernandes.....a shame that Mbappe will miss tonight's action.
The action at the Estadio da Luz (home to Benfica) gets underway at 20:45 CET (19:45 Portuguese time)
Hello and a very warm welcome to our live coverage of Portugal vs France in the UEFA Nations League.