France vs Portugal: Team News, Lineups and Predictions
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France vs Portugal: Team News, Lineups and Predictions

05/07/24 11:57

Cristiano Ronaldo will line up against Kylian Mbappe in a clash of generational superstars as France take on Portugal in their Euro 2024 quarter final at the Volksparkstadion in Hamburg.

Ronaldo, 14 years Mbappe’s senior, is yet to score in this tournament, and recent questions have surfaced concerning whether he is helping or hindering his national side.

Seemingly holding dominion over free kick responsibilities when there are perhaps better options, he saw a number of long distance attempts miss the target, and also saw an extra time penalty saved by Slovenia goalkeeper Jan Oblak, compounding what was a wretched performance over 120 minutes.

He did however score in the eventual shootout, in which Diogo Costa saved three spot kicks in a row.

Mbappe on the other hand has looked like France's only serious threat, and he remains the only French player to have scored this tournament, their two other goals being listed as own goals.

After a series of underwhelming, tentative performances by the pre-tournament favorites, France will be hungry to stamp their authority and send a message out to the remaining teams, and the now masked Mbappe will surely be central to that.

In terms of team news, both nations remain unmarked by injuries, and only French midfielder Adrien Rabiot is guaranteed to miss the game, after receiving his second yellow card of the tournament last time out against Belgium, opening the door for a first start of the competition for Real Madrid youngster Edouardo Camavinga.

Randal Kolo-Muani also stands a good chance of replacing misfiring Inter Milan forward Marcus Thuram, after he directly influenced the Jan Vertonghen own goal that propelled France through the round of 16, and he produced a lively performance off the bench.

For Portugal, it is likely to be the same starting lineup as that which scraped past Slovenia. Pepe, an ever-present for Portugal so far in this tournament, will once again break his record of being the oldest player to participate in a Euro’s match.

History also beckons for Ronaldo, as should he score against France, he will become the oldest ever goalscorer at a Euros tournament, eclipsing the record set earlier in the competition by ex-teammate, 38-year-old Luke Modric.

There are plenty of storylines to follow in what promises to be an intriguing game, not least due to the fact that it is a replay of the 2016 final, in which Portugal came out victorious thanks to a 109th minute stunner from Eder. More of the same drama here please.

What You Need To Know

France form (most recent on the right): DWDDW Portugal form: WWWLW Where: Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, 8pm BST. Where can I watch: BBC 1, BBC iPlayer.

Predicted lineups:

France: Maignan (GK), Kounde, Saliba, Upamecano, Hernandez, Kante, Camavinga, Tchouameni, Dembele, Kolo-Muani, Mbappe.

Portugal: Costa (GK), Cancelo, Dias, Pepe, Mendes, Palhinha, Vitinha, Silva, Fernandes, Leão, Ronaldo.

Prediction:

This is a tough match to call. Portugal started their group stage well, winning their first two games and looking like the real deal while they did it. However, they have now not scored in 210 minutes of football, losing to Georgia and drawing over the course of 120 minutes with Slovenia in that time.

With the Ronaldo dilemma becoming more prominent with each passing day, manager Roberto Martinez may see this crunch game as a chance to surprise France with a change of system or personnel. But the phrase “big players show up in big games” applies almost entirely to Ronaldo, and there is always the chance that he can come up clutch when needed most.

France meanwhile, have flattered to deceive. Keeping clean sheets in 75% of games so far is nothing to be scoffed at, but then again they have the best defensive unit at the tournament. Their attack is what appears to be the problem currently.

Seemingly unable to find their usual creative spark so far this campaign, they have resorted to riding their luck as often as the footballing gods will allow. An own goal carried them to a win over both Austria and Belgium, and a penalty was enough to claim a draw against Poland despite dominating the game.

The game will be tight, and once again, I have a distinct feeling the game won’t necessarily live up to the quality we expect from two footballing superpowers. All the same, it will undoubtedly be a fascinating clash, on a day that promises to be a feast of top tier football, with favorites Spain taking on hosts Germany in the 17:00 kick off.

I think France will have just enough to edge this one, but should they get through to the semi’s, Spain or Germany will likely eliminate them if they continue their stuttering, disjointed performances.

Prediction: France 1-0 Portugal.

Benji Kosartiyer
Journalist
Harry Pascoe

Football Writer

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