Antoine Griezmann and Cristiano Ronaldo are preparing to renew hostilities this evening, with the former’s France side travelling to lock horns with the latter’s Portugal – the world champion facing the European champion, as Diario Sport elucidate.
Portugal and France go into the Nations League clash tied on ten points, with Fernando Santos’ Iberians edging proceedings due to a favourable goal difference. France have the better record in competitive matches with Portugal, with three wins, one draw and one defeat in the bank – but that defeat, the final of Euro 2016 in Paris, carries significant weight.
Griezmann and Ronaldo faced each other many times before in the heat of the Madrid derby, with the former – now at Barcelona in the shadow of Lionel Messi – of Atletico Madrid and the latter, of course, of Real Madrid. France will travel to Lisbon with fire in their bellies after their 2-0 reverse at the hands of Finland which came on the tail of 12 matches without losing – ten wins and two draws.
Portugal, meanwhile, come into the clash fired with enthusiasm. They demolished Andorra 7-0 last time out, with Ronaldo captaining a team that considers other considerable talents including Joao Felix – who’s replaced Griezmann as Atleti’s talisman – as well as Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva. France will have to deal without former Sevilla forward Wissam Ben Yedder, who tested positive for COVID-19, while Kylian Mbappe hasn’t played for two weeks with a hamstring injury and is a doubt.
Didier Deschamps declined to confirm whether Mbappe would start on Saturday night. “He will train with us because he has a specific job,” he said on Friday. “Later, we will see. I will wait to see what happens in training and tomorrow we will decide.”
Deschamps also spoke about the defeat against Finland. “The game didn’t go as we wanted against a team that imposed great defensive rigour upon us,” he said. “We won’t be facing the same rival tomorrow. This game could be decisive [in deciding the group]. I know it and Portugal do too.”
Featured image courtesy of Diario AS.