France – Portugal: France And Portugal Battle To A Stalemate (0-0)
With both teams flawless in the Nations League thus far, this clash was a matchup between two of the contenders to take the competition altogether. However, while both teams traded blows, neither side’s offensive structure was able to make the breakthrough.
Tactical analysis by Emmanuel Adeyemi-Abere.
France have begun their Nations League campaign on a strong vein of form. Following victories against Sweden and Croatia last month, they sit on a perfect record and in a confident mood. They now looked to continue this run of results against the stiffest competition from their group.
Indeed, Portugal are top of the table, claiming the position thanks to a 4-1 win over Croatia on the opening matchday. Having won the first edition of the Nations League Final last year, this fixture against the World Cup champions was a chance to lay down a mark of intent.
Didier Deschamps set up his side in the same 4-4-2 diamond shape from the 7-1 midweek hammering of Ukraine. Only Benjamin Pavard at right back and Oliver Giroud upfront kept their place in the starting eleven from that game, as the likes of N'Golo Kanté, Antoine Griezmann, and Kylian Mbappé came back to the fore.
Fernando Santos lined his team up in a 4-3-3 formation. Likewise to Deschamps, the manager rang the changes as seven new players came into the side after their goalless encounter with Spain in midweek.
Portugal threaten against passive French
In recent years, France have usually opted for a more passive defensive approach. Thus, it was no surprise to see Deschamps’ team drop back to the . . .