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realistic, France punishes Spain and adds a trophy to its collection

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France defeated Spain 2 goals to 1 on Sunday in the Nations League final thanks to goals from Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappé.

It is neither the Euro nor the World Cup but it is all the same an additional trophy in the bag of the Blues. In the final of the League of Nations, France beat Spain (2-1), Sunday, October 10, at the San Siro stadium in Milan in the final of the competition.

Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappé responded to the opening scoring of Mikel Oyarzabal and allow the Blues to succeed Portugal, the first winner of the competition in 2019, and to glean a reward one year from the World Cup in Qatar.

Thirteen months before the World Cup in Qatar (21 November-18 December 2022), for which they are almost qualified, the reigning world champions have filled their trophy cabinet a little more by taking over from Portugal from Cristiano Ronaldo , sacred in 2019.

Above all, they tamed a “Roja” falling for the Italian European champions, Wednesday in the semifinals, by displaying an unfailing strength of character, failing total control. After the stunning 3-2 victory on Thursday against Belgium, the first nation in the Fifa rankings, the Blues have marked the spirits and laid bricks for the future, despite the still smoking ruins of the Euro missed this summer.

First half without a chance

The League of Nations does not have the prestige of a great tournament, but the high plateau of the final phase gives Sunday’s title an intoxicating flavor for the Blues against one of the most exciting teams of the moment, semi-finalist of the last Euro, the game licked like that of its glorious elders, and seriously rejuvenated under the leadership of Luis Enrique.

In the first period, the long-awaited shock led to a peak … of boredom, without the opportunity to score, or even real action likely to overwhelm the 31,500 spectators identified in San Siro, of which the most noisy and demonstrative were those who came to acclaim the “Roja”.

The “Olé, olé” fallen from the Spanish stands accompanied the passing game of their favorites, but Hugo Lloris shook little. The only shivers in the French camp came from an elbow used in its surface by Jules Koundé (31st), but the use of video assistance did not result in a sanction.

Despite this, the tricolor defense did not breathe serenity. Ferran Torres, author of a double Wednesday, made the rearguard of the French dizzy and first of all Theo Hernandez, left “piston” often badly placed, overwhelmed in the race and sometimes forced to talk about his physique to thwart enemy attacks.

“Forced and forced to defend”, as Didier Deschamps explained on M6 at the break, the Blues had the misfortune of losing their defensive rock Raphaël Varane before half-time, injured in the right thigh and forced to give up his place in Dayot Upamecano, no longer seen for a year.

Deprived of balls, the French attackers have long watched the debates unfold without them, until the meeting suddenly gets carried away at the hour mark.

Aurélien Tchouaméni, tenured in the absence of Adrien Rabiot (positive for covid-19), started an offensive from the French camp by relying on Pogba, Kylian Mbappé and Karim Benzema combined until Theo Hernandez whose recovery vibrated the Spanish crossbar (64th).

Benzema gem turns the situation around

In the process, the “Roja” rushed on the goal of Lloris. Captain Sergio Busquets sent Mikel Oyarzabal in depth who, in the duel, played against Upamecano (64th, 0-1).

The Blues could have been stunned, but Benzema gave them back the smile of a sublime coiled shot on a service from Mbappé (66th, 1-1). As against Belgium, where the French were down 2-0 at half-time, the revolt and the reduction in the score came from the Madrilenian, now credited with six goals since his surprise return in June.

And as against the Red Devils, the second goal was signed Mbappé! The Paris SG striker, who came to the selection escorted by doubts, benefited from a pass from Theo Hernandez to deceive Unai Simon with a hook before shaking the nets (80th, 2-1).

The French then trembled on their bases, but Lloris turned into an impassable wall with two decisive stops (88th, 90th + 4). Like a world champion!

Relive the meeting with our liveblog

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