Led by Spain, the Blues relied on the talent of their attackers to add a line to their record … Stunning!
When it comes to football, an adage transcends generations: a final cannot be played, it is won. Under the Didier Deschamps era, which began in 2012, the French team did not always do him honor, losing in the final of Euro 2016 against Portugal, before triumphing in Russia at the 2018 World Cup .
Spain loves leather, France (also) knows how to suffer
This Sunday evening, on the lawn of San Siro, he was still in everyone’s mind, Spanish and French. But it was first of all the Iberians that used the most ingredients to make the recipe. It must be said that the clash between two totally opposed styles has kept all its promises tactically speaking. On the one hand, a more technical, disciplined and devilishly collective Roja. On the other, a France more athletic, defensive and that we know capable of lightning. In the first period, however, it was the Spanish attributes that took precedence over those of the French, unfortunately reduced to an offensive nothingness to which they had not been used for many years.
Proof of this is that the only French shot did not even find the frame. If Spain was more enterprising, it was not ultimately much more dangerous, Pablo Sarabia having timidly worried Hugo Lloris (11th), while a hand of Jules Koundé in his area was not sanctioned by a penalty (32nd). In short, this opposition of styles had just given birth to a spectacle much less exciting than the explosive semi-final between France and Belgium (3-2). The only real downside, the exit from muscle injury of central defender Raphaël Varane, forced to give way to Dayot Upamecano just before the break (42nd) …
After sleep … wake up!
At halftime, Didier Deschamps was not mistaken: his France team had the merit of resisting the tempo dictated by its evening opponent, but it would also have to let go and use the leather better in the second half to hope to win. Its eleven soldiers got attached to it, as soon as the two teams returned to the green square. An obvious desire to push the Spaniards higher was thus to be underlined, without really bearing fruit until the hour of play … A real game of chess.
Until everything changed. In the 64th, Théo Hernandez, already heroic against the Belgians, recovered, but his attempt to conclude a marvel of collective action, crashed on the crossbar of Unai Simon. In the process, a sharp pass in the axis allowed Mikel Oyarzabal to get rid of the marking of Dayot Upamecano before going to deceive Hugo Lloris on his left … Raging. But great moments call for great feats, and Karim Benzema reminded everyone of this, delighting San Siro with his talent. Two minutes after the opening of the scoring (66th), the French striker equalized with a splendid strike ending his race in the opposite window. A real masterpiece from the Real Madrid player, yet very discreet since the start of the meeting. The mark of (very) great.
Fifteen minutes later, France, still unbelievably resilient, did it again. Found in the depth by Theo Hernandez, Kylian Mbappé, initially in an offside position canceled by the touch of a ball from a Spanish, left no chance for the opposing goalkeeper, slipping the ball under his belly (81st). As against Belgium three days earlier, the Blues had simply overthrown their evening opponent. But this time, the reward was XXL … namely the first League of Nations won in our history. If the interest of this competition is debated, we come back to the same adage: a final cannot be played, it is won.