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Portugal vs France Preview

Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappe


One of the highest-profile fixtures in the Nations League takes place at the Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica on Saturday as world champions France visit European champions Portugal.

Both sides have picked up 10 points from their four matches in Group 3 in League A, but Portugal are top of the group on goal difference. 

These sides shared the points in a goalless draw at the Stade de France last month but with both teams eyeing the top spot on the log, we should be in for a thrilling contest.

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UEFA Nations League A, Group 3
Saturday 14 November
Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica
21:45

To Win
Portugal Win 31/20
Draw 43/20
France 7/4

Portugal

After back-to-back scoreless draws against Spain (friendly) and France, Portugal returned to winning ways with a 3-0 victory over Sweden in Lisbon last month, with Liverpool star Diogo Jota involved in all three goals, scoring a brace and assisting Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva. 

Jota is the joint top scorer in Group A3 alongside Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku with three goals, while Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has two to his name. The five-time Ballon d'Or winner is back in Fernando Santos' squad after missing the win against Sweden due to Covid-19.

With Ronaldo available and the likes of Jota, Bernardo, Ruben Dias, Bruno Fernandes and Joao Felix, the titleholders will be confident of beating Didier Deschamps' team, especially after having the better goalscoring opportunities in France.

Full squad:

Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Olympique Lyon), Rui Patricio (Wolverhampton), Rui Silva (Granada)

Defenders: Joao Cancelo (Manchester City), Nelson Semedo (Wolverhampton), Jose Fonte (Lille), Ruben Dias (Manchester City), Ruben Semedo (Olympiakos), Mario Rui (Napoli), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund), Domingos Duarte (Granada)

Midfielders: Danilo Pereira (Paris Saint-Germain), Ruben Neves (Wolverhampton), William Carvalho (Real Betis), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), Renato Sanches (Lille), Joao Moutinho (Wolverhampton), Sergio Oliveira (Porto)

Forwards: Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Diogo Jota (Liverpool), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), Francisco Trincao (FC Barcelona), Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid), Pedro Neto (Wolverhampton), Paulinho (Braga)

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France

Following their 2-1 win over Croatia in Zagreb where Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann scored, France stretched their unbeaten run to 12 games and recorded their 10th victory. Les Bleus will be aiming to maintain their unbeaten record while they look to hand Portugal their first defeat of 2020. 

Deschamps' men, who reached the final of the last Euros and won the World Cup, fancy their chances of winning every time they step onto the field, but the likes of Mbappe, Griezmann, N'Golo Kante and Paul Pogba have to all be at their best against Santos' star-studded Portugal.

Leipzig's Dayot Upamecano’s exclusion from France's squad raises eyebrows as many regard him as the best young centre-back in the world, but Deschamps has put his faith in Kurt Zouma whose been one of the standout defenders in the Premier League so far this season, keeping seven clean sheets for Chelsea in all competitions while scoring three goals. 

Whoever Deschamps decides to play in defence will need to be rock-solid on Saturday as they come up against the most lethal attacker in the world, Ronaldo, as well as the in-form Jota and Bruno, who has five goals in seven games for Manchester United. 

Full squad:

Goalkeepers: Benoit Costil (Girondins Bordeaux), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur), Mike Maignan (Lille), Steve Mandanda (Olympique Marseille)

Defenders: Lucas Digne (Everton), Leo Dubois (Olympique Lyon), Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris Saint-Germain), Clement Lenglet (FC Barcelona), Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid), Kurt Zouma (Chelsea)

Midfielders: N'Golo Kante (Chelsea), Steven Nzonzi (Stade Rennais), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Adrien Rabiot (Juventus), Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham Hotspur), Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich), Houssem Aouar (Olympique Lyon)

Forwards: Wissam Ben Yedder (AS Monaco), Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Olivier Giroud (Chelsea), Antoine Griezmann (FC Barcelona), Anthony Martial (Manchester United), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain), Marcus Thuram (Borussia Monchengladbach)

Prediction: Portugal (31/20)
I think it will be another tight contest like it was when these sides met last month, but with the game being played in Portugal, I’m backing the titleholders to end France’s unbeaten run.

Written by Chad Nagel