Portugal VS France Prediction
Thirty-two years after the Euro 1984 semi-final, sixteen years after the Euro 2000 semi-final, France and Portugal are set for another European Championship encounter but this time both nations are the UEFA Euro 2016 finalists.
If we can make a conclusion that France reached the Euro 2016 final expectedly, then Portugal’s final position is a bit surprising, especially after all draws in the group phase. However, “The Navigators” have reached the UEFA Euro 2016 final in Paris where Cristiano Ronaldo and company will hope to end that negative record as it comes to facing France.
Head-to-head history of the rivalry between France and Portugal
Apart from above mentioned semi-finals of Euro 1984 and Euro 2000, France holds another major success against Portugal and this was only 10 years ago when “Les Bleus” eliminated Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Portugal from the 2006 FIFA World Cup semi-finals. Zinedine Zidane scored the winning goal after successfully executed penalty kick and Cristiano Ronaldo was personally involved in that 1/2 final fixture hosted by “Allianz-Arena” in Munich. This was only one from all remarkable results which France has against Portugal and it was the competitive clash between both nations. France of Raymond Domenech reached the final afterwards but we all remember they lost on penalties from Italy and fact that Zidane was sent-off in the extra-time after he hit Marco Materazzi. However, Zidane’s semi-final goal was enough to eliminate another team of Portugal which was fill with hope, only two years after the lost Euro 2004 final at home turf. Portugal with players like Simão, Maniche, Deco, Luis Figo, Pedro Pauleta and Nuno Gomes failed to win against France at the 2006 World Cup and this was a wound for players like them, while Ricardo Carvalho and Cristiano Ronaldo have their own chance to respond in proper way 10 years later. Not only because Carvalho and Cristiano Ronaldo were both featured in that semi-final, but for the overall streak which France has against Portugal and the unluckily lost games at both previous Euros, which are all separated by a 16 years diapason.
France can boast with 10 successive victories against Portugal and that record exists even prior the Euro 1984 clash, starting with the 2-0 win in March 1978. Indeed, seven of these 10 games are friendlies but it’s fact that all of them were won by France and the only occasions when games were decided by extra-time were right at the Euros.
France of Michel Hidalgo won against Portugal of Fernando Cabrita at the UEFA Euro 1984 semi-finals at “Stade Vélodrome” in Marseille, where Rui Jordão scored twice for Portugal as well as Jean-François Domergue for France. However, Michel Platini’s goal was decisive as he netted the winning goal in 119th minute which qualified France on their very first European Championship final. Regular 90 minutes were marked by an 1-1 draw and we had real drama in the extra time. Later on France won over Spain and they lifted the European Championship trophy for the very first time, only two years after they finished fourth at the 1982 World Cup in Spain.
Sixteen years after the European Championship in France, Portugal was once again triggered by “Les Bleus” when France were reigning World Cup champions after winning the trophy at home turf. UEFA Euro 2000 met both nations at “King Baudouin Stadium” in Brussels where Nuno Gomes opened the score for “The Navigators” in the first half, but Thierry Henry restored the draw in the opening minutes of the second half. Thus final whistle of Austrian referee Günter Benkö was blown with 1-1 on the scoresheet and once again extra time was the breaking point of the clash between France and Portugal.
Only few minutes before its ending France was awarded with a penalty and Zinedine Zidane did what he had to do – scored. So basically the penalty kick from 2006 was a deja vu and Zidane already had enough experience in scoring important penalties against Portugal. Main difference between the 2000 and 2006 semi-finals came from the final success, since France with Didier Deschamps as their captain lifted the trophy at UEFA Euro 2000 while six years later Italy took their revenge on German turf.
Portugal on eve of the Euro 2016 final against France – Team News
Sixteen years after the unfortunate Euro 2000 semi-final Portugal will be demanding for their revenge as they haven’t won against France since more than 40 years – 2:0 in April 1975. Apparently a difficult opposition for “The Seleção” but they’ll be inspired from some of the previous negative records that were ended at Euro 2016. Starting from Italy’s win over Spain, going through the quarter-final success of Germany against Italy and the French victory vs “Die Mannschaft” in the semi-finals. All these games were pretty tied and at the same time Portugal was in the relevantly easier part of the bracket. More over, they had one day more than France to recover for the Euro 2016 final as their semi-final victory against Wales came in Wednesday evening, while France and Germany met in Thursday night – 72 hours before time when final is scheduled.
The 2-0 win over Wales was Portugal’s first success at the competition (in 90 mins) and it will admittedly increase confidence of Fernando Santos’ men. Nevertheless, victory against Wales remains in the past and Chris Coleman was without two key players in face of Ben Davies and Aaron Ramsey, who were both suspended, but it still showed that Portugal can show character when they have to.
Portuguese coach Fernando Santos also had some defensive issues since Pepe wasn’t fit and Real Madrid’s centre-back missed the 1/2 final, as we all know how important figure he is. Furthermore, Pepe has been brilliant so far and his presence secures bigger confidence for all younger names around.
William Carvalho, one from these youngsters (Player of the tournament at the 2015 UEFA U-21 European Championship), was suspended and he missed the semi-finals as well, but now 24-year-old defensive midfielder is expected to return and he’ll form Portuguese midfield with his teammates at Sporting CP – Adrien Silva and João Mário.
Another youngster in Renato Sanches’ face can pretend for the best young player award at Euro 2016 and his improvement in last 12 months has been mirrored not only on club level, but for the national team as well, where Sanches already has 10 caps and he scored the equalizer in the quarter-final vs Poland.
Thus Fernando Santos has no any intention to make rotations in his team, especially in attack where Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani will have to give their best effort if they want to upset the Euro 2016 hosts.
France on eve of the Euro 2016 final against Portugal – Team News
France will be extremely delighted to repeat all previous successes of their competitive history against Portugal, even if they can make it after extra-time. Important thing is that overcoming Portugal here means that France will lift third ever European Championship trophy and second at home turf. Actually France have been outstanding as it comes to home competitions and “Stade de France” carries the notable atmosphere of French football, with some of the glorious moments of French national football team.
That’s the venue where “Les Bleus” have lifted the 1998 World Cup trophy after trashing Brazil with legends like Cafu, Dunga, Rivaldo, Bebeto and Ronaldo in “Il Fenomeno” in the squad. Didier Deschamps was in that glorious French team as well and he’ll hope that 18 years later he can neutralize another major player who owns the name Ronaldo.
For this Deschamps can pick between the 4-3-3 used in most of his games or to stick within the 4-2-3-1 formation which won games against Republic of Ireland (2:1), Iceland (5:2) and the semi-final against Germany (2:0). We saw much stronger France with the 4-2-3-1 formation compared to their unconvincing group games, where Deschamps used the 4-3-3, including the first half against Ireland, when France was losing after 45 minutes. However, few bold decisions and two factors which have contributed for Deschamps’ decisions – to use some of the players who were on the bench. Not without mentioning fact that he had to, since Adil Rami and N’Golo Kante were both suspended for the quarter-final against Iceland. This caused some rotations mostly in defense where Barcelona’s new signing Samuel Umtiti made his international debut and he obviously impressed. Umtiti grabbed the chance he had and he apparently replaced Rami from the starting position, since Deschamps preferred the 22-year-old centre-back instead of Rami, who was back in contention after serving his suspension.
Same thing was valid for midfield where Deschamps used 4-2-3-1 formation with Paul Pogba and Blaise Matuidi as central midfielders, while Moussa Sissoko left good impressions on the right wing. Another player can pretend for the right wing position and that’s Kingsley Coman, in case that Deschamps decides to use the 4-2-3-1 against Portugal.
Positions of goalkeeper, three of the defender positions and the attacking trio are looking rock-solid, where we respectively have captain Hugo Lloris and the expected defensive trio with names of Laurent Koscielny, Patrice Evra and Bacary Sagna. Without any question, France’s most impressive link is the final trio where we find names of Dimitri Payet, Olivier Giroud and tournament top goal scorer Antoine Griezmann, who not only scored the brace against Germany, but targets to repeat same contribution which legendary players like Zinedine Zidane and Michel Platini already had. Their football skills were crucial for the relevant football era when France lifted the European Championship and Griezmann claims the prize for best player at UEFA Euro 2016 and for top scorer as well. So he certainly has individual battle against Cristiano Ronaldo and Antoine Griezmann is absolutely eager to taking revenge for the lost 2016 UEFA Champions League final, when Real Madrid with Pepe and Cristiano Ronaldo have slain the hopes of Griezmann and his club Atletico Madrid.
UEFA Euro 2016 Final – possible squads and betting tip
Portugal and France can rely to their best men if we consider that Pepe will manage to recover on time and this predisposes to even more organized defensive approach by both sides. Centre-back duo between Pepe and Jose Fonte looks more likely than between Pepe and Ricardo Carvalho, but we can’t completely exclude similar CB duo as in the 1/2 final – when Bruno Alves and Jose Fonte were partners. Final decision is fully up to Fernando Santos but this pretty much depends on Pepe’s status.
Didier Deschamps will have to think about both prospects for usage of either 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1, so actually that’s the only question ahead. However, France’s starting XI depends completely on this decision, but as we stated most of the starting squad looks determined.
Final conclusion and betting prediction
Our betting recommendation is based on the tempting odds for “Both team to score” and despite cautious approaches which both teams can propose (mostly Portugal), we think that value such as 2.30 (5/4) for both teams to score deserves credit, especially when we have players like Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo on one side, while that superb French attacking formation is on other side.
Having referee appointment of an Englishman in Mark Clattenburg’s face here definitely suits to our betting selection as we all know what type of referee he is, as we’re quite sure he won’t tore the game.
Referee: Mark Clattenburg from England.
Venue: “Stade de France”, Saint-Denis, Paris.
Possible starting lineups of Portugal and France
Portugal: Rui Patrício – Raphaël Guerreiro, Pepe, José Fonte, Cédric Soares – William Carvalho – Adrien Silva, Renato Sanches, João Mário – Nani, Cristiano Ronaldo (c). (4-1-3-2)
France: Hugo Lloris (c) – Patrice Evra, Samuel Umtiti, Laurent Koscielny, Bacary Sagna – Blaise Matuidi, Paul Pogba – Dimitri Payet, Antoine Griezmann, Moussa Sissoko – Olivier Giroud. (4-2-3-1)