UEFA Nations League Final Spain 1-2 France HIGHLIGHTS: France wins maiden Nation's League title

Goals from Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema assured Les Blues secured a successful comeback, winning the maiden Nations League title for France

France's Kylian Mbappe, right, is flanked by his teammate France's Karim Benzema as they attend a training session ahead of Sunday's final of the UEFA Nations League between Spain and France, at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy.   -  AP

Hello and welcome to Sportstar's blog of the Spain vs France Nations League 2021 Final being played at the at the San Siro Stadium.

This was Neeladri Bhattacharjee bringing you the minute-by-minute update.

That's all for the day. Thanks for tuning in. Goodnight and take care.

Fulll-time at San Siro as Mbappe and Benzema pull France to its maiden Nations League win with a 2-1 scoreline against Spain . (READ MATCH REPORT)

 

Full Time

Spain 1-2 France

90+2' Substitution for France

On: Veretout, Off: Greizmann

89' Yellow card for Mbappe. France trying to stop everything now. from Mbappe to Pogba...everyone of them

88' Save! Oyarzabal's strike saved wonderfully by LLoris. That could be the game determining moment of the game

88' France now playing with five men at the back. This is the second consecutive match France has come from behind and what a run has it been!

86' Yellow card for Laporte for his challenge on Dubois, the first booking for Spain as France get a Free Kick from a scoring position

84' Double Substitution for Spain.

ON: Merino, Formals Off: Rodri, Torres

80' GOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!! Mbappe makes a run on the left who makes no erros and hits on the lower corner

Spain 1- 2 France

79' Substitution ! On: Dubois, Off: Pavard

76' Shot! Pogba takes a long ranger which misses the target, but Pogba has shown his potential in long rangers against Switzerland

75' Substitution for Spain. On: Koke, Off: Gavi

74' Corner kick for Spain which fles over the net and bounces on top of it as Koke gets ready to get on to the pitch

72' MISS! Mbappe misses an open chance with a soft shot as Deschamps holds his head in disbelief

69' Theo Hernandez is marked well by Azpilicueta as Spain avoid another chance. Pogba's header is then saved by Simon.

66' GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLL!!!!!!! Benzema takes a magnificent right-footed shot to equalize for France. Absolute Magic!

Spain 1-1 France

64' GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLL!!!!!!! Oyarzabal makes a run to sneak the ball past LLoris as France was left ball watching

Spain 1- 0 France

 

63' Greizmann's magnificent through ball spotted by Unai Simon who throttles the ball away from the box

61' Substitution for Spain! Subbed on: Pino, Subbed off : Sarabia

60' Spain getting a substitution ready as La Roja looks to tire out France with its passing game. Torres to Busquets to Alonso, which is controlled well by Upamecano for a goal kick

58' Alonso's long ball falls on the chest of Upamecano as Spain gets a corner, which is eventually cleared away

55' Another yellow for France as Kounde comes into the book, second booking of the game and as many for France. Les Blues playing dangerously now

54' Chance for France! Action on the other end as Mbappe almost gets a cross

in the centre and a magnificent interception from Alonso averts any possible danger

53' Chance! Sarabia's cross too much for Torres as Spain creates the best chance of the game so far

52' France now going more physical since the start of the second half as Sarabia goes down after a challenge by Kounde.

49' France made a brilliant comeback against Belgium, winning 3-2 in the semi-finals. Here, it has failed to create enough opportunities, with just one shot on target and that too from Spain in the first half

46' Yellow card! A booking for Pogba for a challenge on Busquets, the first card of the game

Second Half kicks off!

Second Half begins with France without Varane, who was forced out with an injury.

Half Time!

France 0 - 0 Spain

Both sides try their exploits but fail to break the deadlock with the scores remaining nil-nil.

 

45+2' Pogba tries to pass a through ball, but eventually misses as Kounde pulls France out of trouble

45' Last minute of regulation tmie in the first half. The game looks to have slowed down, but Torres tries to hasten things up, but Benzema comes to France's rescue. Two more minutes added

41' Varane limps and then sits to the ground as he is given medical attention. This may be bad news for France as Upamecano gets ready to come on

Substitution : Varane out, Upamecano in!

40' Another cross from the right for Spain as Varane positioned well to clear it away

38' A duel between Torres and Hernandez going on as the Frenchman pushed Torres down. No foul surprisingly though

36' Chance! Alonso takes a left footed shot from the free-kick which whizzes past the post

35' Tchoumeni makes a challenge on Ferran Torres as he goes to the ground. Free Kick for Spain from a scoring position.

34' Gorgeous ball for Torres from Alonso who flies in another long ball back to Marcus, but no real danger involved

32' Kounde's clearance played forward with Mbappe trying to find a space. Anthony Taylor checks a case of handball against France's Kounde and rules out any chance of a penalty

30' Half an hour into the game with both sides playing end-to-end stuff. The final looks to have quite some attacking contenders

29' Sarabia's cross from the left cleared by Varane as Pavard pairs up to keep the Spaniards at bay

27' Sarabia's corner cleared by Kimpembe, as Lloris kicks the ball away following a long ranger from Oyarzabal

25' Benzema and Greizmann pair up along the right, but Spain has its backyard covered as Varane takes down Azpilicueta for a foul

24' Both wingers marker well by France as Gavi and Azpillicueta try to create some space . Spain enjoying 66% of possession in the game so far, a feature very typical of La Roja

22' Slip by Keimpembe a Torres tries to capitalise, but the French defender recovers well

21' Spain playing a physically stronger game with Mbappe, Pogba and now Tchouameni down as he is attended by physios

20' France absorbing the Spanish press now with Gavi running his lungs out. He must be pinching himself to believe he is playing for Spain at just 17 years of age!

17' Oyarzabal to Alonso, Spain trying to create a space along the left flank now, the ball moves to the centre as Gavi makes an impressive run with Mbappe going down

15' Ferran Torres to Gavi and back to him and the ball back to the Spanish back four. Enrique's boys trying to create something now

12' Chance for Spain! Sarabia to Oyarzabal, whose soft kick is saved by the Spurs keeper to keep the game level

11' Theo Hernandez and Ferran Torres come together as the Spaniard falls, appealing for a foul. The linesman is not interested

8' Spain now pressing high with wingers tracing the ball right upto Lorris who controls the ball out of danger. Attack from France now as it gets a corner, which is cleared.

6' Chance for France! Unai Simon and Busquets beat the initial press with back passes as Spain tries to go up front.

France stops them on its tracks as Benzema makes a run and creates a chance which is saved by Spanish defenders

4' Mbappe tries to make a run on the front, but no real threat as there is no one to cover for him on the other end of the box

3' Theo Hernandez stops Spain's aerial ball as Pogba is brought down by Azpillicueta

2' Spain trying to stitch small passes, typical to its philosophy, while France pressing now

12:15 am: Kick Off! Match begins. Spain, in Red starts from left to right with France, in white starts from the other end

12:10 am: After Luis Figo of Portugal revealed the trophy as a handover from the previous winner, the players of both teams walk put of the dugout for anthems and eventually, the kick-off

12:05 am: 15 minutes to kick-off!

Earlier tonight, Italy secured the third position in the UEFA Nations League with a 2-1 win over Belgium with goals from Berardi and Barella.

Will we see a similar scoreline here today? Or will it be a tighter contest? Whatever it is, San Siro looks fired up for the final.

 

11:55 pm: Spain is looking to win its forst trophy since 2012 as well as the first silverware under Luis Enrique, who has been under scrutiny for excluding Real Madrid players time and again.

While Spain comes to the final beating Euro 2020 Champion, France comes with a brilliant comeback against Belgium.

As far as the Spanish team is concerned, Eric Garcia has replaced Pau Torres while Rodri has taken Koke's place in the starting XI tonight.

11:45 pm: France will start with a 3-4-1-2 formation with Spain going with a classic counter-attacking 4-3-3.

Spain and France have faced each other 35 times and Spain has the upper-hand with 16 wins.

11:30 pm: 45 minutes to go for Kick-Off! 

The UEFA Nations League final is set as the FIFA World Cup winners of 2010 and 2018 lock horns at San Siro in Milan.  

Both the teams have arrived at the stadium.

 

11:15 pm: Confirmed Line-ups:

France starting XI:

Lloris (GK) (C), Kounde, Varane, Kimpembe, Pavard, Pogba, Tchouameni, Theo Hernandez, Griezmann, Mbappe, Benzema.

Spain starting XI:

Simon (GK), Azpilicueta, Garcia, Laporte, Alonso, Busquets (C), Rodri, Gavi, Sarabia, F Torres, Oyarzabal

 

Match Preview

Spain and France will meet at the San Siro stadium on Sunday in the Nations League final after a week in which the competition, in just its second edition, truly delivered on its promise.

UEFA launched the Nations League in 2018 amid much puzzlement about the format and scepticism about whether such a competition was needed or desired given the prominence of the European Championship and World Cup for national teams.

The argument from European football's governing body was that replacing friendly matches with competitive games in a mini-group format, with a Final Four tournament at the end, would deliver better entertainment value for fans and more meaningful action for the players.

This week’s games, delivered in a rapid playoff format, certainly provided the quality and excitement fans crave and no-one who witnessed them, either in the venues or watching on television, would have considered they were in anyway 'meaningless' for the players.

In fact, in this concentrated format, the competition delivers the business end of a tournament without all the labouring through a group stage, the travel between multiple venues and the slow burn build-up throughout a month of games.

ALSO READ | France’s Rabiot out of Nations League final with COVID-19

Spain’s 2-1 win over European champion Italy in Milan on Wednesday, followed by France’s thrilling comeback to beat Belgium 3-2 in Turin a day later, were games which could have graced the latter stages of either of the established international tournaments.

Sunday’s final promises more of the same. France is the world champion and possess a front three that is arguably unmatched in the game — the brilliance and speed of Kylian Mbappe, the deadly finishing of Karim Benzema and the craft and guile of Antoine Griezmann.

Spain has been going through a transition period under coach Luis Enrique, not only in terms of personnel but also style, and against Italy it offered clear evidence of its direction of travel.

Luis Enrique has been willing to turn to the most inexperienced of young players, with Barcelona’s 17-year-old midfielder Gavi enjoying an impressive debut against Italy, having made only three starts for his club Barcelona.

ALSO READ | Ballon d'Or: Messi, Ronaldo, Mbappe, Neymar top list of nominees

Injuries mean that Spain is without its recognised forwards in Alvaro Morata and Gerard Moreno this week, but in its absence Manchester City’s Ferran Torres, nominally a winger, played in the middle and scored both goals against Italy.

While Spain still treasure possession, it transitions through midfield much more quickly than in the past and has a refreshing directness in the wide areas where Mikel Oyarzabal and Pablo Sarabia shone against the Azzurri and another teenager, Yeremi Pino, impressed off the bench.

France coach Didier Deschamps has switched his team to a 3-4-3 formation with attacking wing backs in Benjamin Pavard and Theo Hernandez dangerous throughout against Belgium and it will be fascinating to see who takes control of the wide areas in the final.

At the end of Sunday night, one team will raise the Nations League trophy and while that silverware does not carry the prestige of the European Championship won by Italy in July, it will be hard for anyone to claim it is meaningless.

(Via Reuters)

Complete France Squad

Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur), Mike Maignan (AC Milan), Benoit Costil (Girondins de Bordeaux)

Defenders: Lucas Digne (Everton), Leo Dubois (Olympique Lyonnais), Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris St Germain), Jules Kounde (Sevilla), Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich), Dayot Upamecano (Bayern Munich), Raphael Varane (Manchester United)

Midfielders: Matteo Guendouzi (Olympique de Marseille), Theo Hernandez (AC Milan), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Aurelien Tchouameni (Monaco), Jordan Veretout (Roma)

Forwards: Wissam Ben Yedder (Monaco), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Moussa Diaby (Bayer Leverkusen), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Anthony Martial (Manchester United), Kylian Mbappe (Paris St Germain)


Complete Spain Squad

Goalkeepers: Unai Simon (Athletic Bilbao), David De Gea (Man Utd), Robert Sanchez (Brighton).

Defenders: Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Pedro Porro (Sporting Lisbon), Eric Garcia (Barcelona), Aymeric Laporte (Man City), Inigo Martinez (Athletic Bilbao), Pau Torres (Villarreal), Sergio Reguillon (Tottenham), Marcos Alonso (Chelsea).

Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Rodrigo (Man City), Pedri (Barcelona), Mikel Merino (Real Sociedad), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Gavi (Barcelona).

Forwards: Ferran Torres (Man City), Pablo Sarabia (Sporting Lisbon), Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad), Pablo Fornals (West Ham), Marcos Llorente (Atletico Madrid), Yeremy Pino (Villarreal).


Where can you watch?

The Spain vs France Nation's League final will be shown live on the Sony Pictures Sports Network on Sony Ten 2 and can also be streamed on the SonyLIV app and JioTV. (for Indian viewers only)