Portugal’s defensive qualities were again to the fore as they frustrated France to earn a draw in Group 3.
Match in brief
Clear chances were at a premium throughout in the meeting of the world and European champions, João Félix volleying wide and Cristiano Ronaldo being denied by a well-timed Lucas Hernández block in the first half, while Olivier Giroud lashed over France’s best opening of the first 45 minutes.
Kylian Mbappé had a golden opportunity to break the deadlock early in the second period only for Rui Patrício to come to Portugal’s rescue; moments later at the other end, Ronaldo was unable to connect properly with Raphaël Guerreiro’s cross. The Juventus forward might have won it in the final seconds but an alert Hugo Lloris produced a fine stop to ensure both teams had to settle for a point.
David Crossan, France reporter
Portugal’s excellent defensive display thwarted France, who tried to up the pace in the second half with glimpses of quality from Mbappé and Paul Pogba. Deschamps’ side, however, were ultimately frustrated and will hope for more in Croatia on Wednesday.
Carlos Machado, Portugal reporter
A good result for Portugal that keeps them top of Group 3 after a hard-fought game at Stade de France. The visitors had the better of the first 45 minutes, but France were clearly better in the second period and came close to scoring what would surely have been the winner. Lloris denied Ronaldo in the final seconds, Portugal’s best chance of the game.
Hugo Lloris, France captain: “We expected this game, to be honest, against tough opponents. It was a tough game and both teams performed strongly. We can be pleased with the clean sheet because we were up against a big team. I think we could have done a bit more in the last third with the last movement and the last pass. At this level, when you cannot win it’s important not to lose.”
Antoine Griezmann, France forward: “It’s a new system we’re putting into place. With Kylian we were trying to find each other. There were two occasions when I could have picked him out but chose another player. We need to work on it and improve things.”
Fernando Santos, Portugal coach: “It was a very even game; the players were too cautious. I don’t know if there was too much respect from both sides, but the game looked like that. It wasn’t very fast, but it was balanced. It was a game that lacked a more aggressive dynamic in the search for a goal.”
Raphaël Guerreiro, Portugal defender: “We were very consistent defensively, but we lacked a goal. We had a few opportunities to score and didn’t, but both teams were good defensively and offensively. This is a very strong group.”
- France failed to score for the first time in 19 home games.
- Les Bleus have kept 14 clean sheets in their last 27 games.
- Hugo Lloris is now France’s third most-capped player outright, his 117th cap taking him above Marcel Desailly.
- Portugal are now unbeaten in nine UEFA Nations League matches (W6 D3).
- Fernando Santos’s side have conceded only 12 goals in their last 19 games.
France: Lloris; Hernández, Kimpembe, Varane, Pavard; Pogba, Kanté, Rabiot; Griezmann, Giroud (Martial 74), Mbappé (Coman 84)
Portugal: Rui Patrício; Semedo, Pepe, Rúben Dias, Guerreiro (João Cancelo 89); William (João Moutinho 88), Danilo, Bruno Fernandes (Renato Sanches 80); Bernardo Silva (Diogo Jota 61), Ronaldo, João Félix (Francisco Trincão 89)