Spain vs France – Football Match Report – October 11, 2021
France won the Nations League final with goals from Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe, earning them a 2-1 victory over Spain at San Siro Stadium on Sunday.
After a moderate first half, the game came to life in the 64th minute when French full-back Theo Hernandez hit below the bar after a quick break.
– Spain’s fury as Mbappe’s ‘offside’ winning goal cleared
– ESPN + Guide: LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, FA Cup, more (US)
– You don’t have ESPN? Access immediately
Moments later, Spain took the lead when Mikel Oyarzabal grabbed a long pass from Sergio Busquets, shoved Dayot Upamecano back and shot into the bottom corner.
The French response was swift, however, with Mbappe finding Benzema who cut inside before unleashing a brilliant curling shot in the far corner to bring the score to 1-1.
Mbappe then grabbed the winner, 10 minutes to go, rushing for a deep ball from Hernandez and keeping his cool to get past Unai Simon.
“We showed our character against a very strong team. We never gave up,” said Benzema. âIt shows what great teams do – never panic, be patient and wait for the right time.
“We are going to take this trophy and then go for the World Cup [next year]. “
Coach Didier Deschamps said Benzema’s contribution to the squad goes beyond his goals.
“Karim is an essential player, he has proven it in the last two games,” said Deschamps.
“He’s in line with what he does with his club. He’s extremely fit, much better than before, and he’s more mature. He has this passion to win that he communicates to other players.”
Luis Enrique’s young Spanish side, who beat European champions Italy in the semi-finals, played their trademark possession football with patience and precision but ultimately couldn’t make up for the lack of a real striker.
“It was a difficult loss,” said Spain defender Aymeric Laporte. “We have proven that we are a great team despite our youth, we have shown better football than them, but what matters is the result.”
Spain protested that Mbappe was offside when he received the ball, but VAR control revealed a slight touch from defender Eric Garcia who had the French striker play.
“It’s a shame. I think we did enough not to lose, but in two similar moves we conceded, even though the goals were different. The second one, for us on the pitch, looked like an off-set. game, âBusquets said. “
But we have no choice but to congratulate the champions and move on. We still have a small step to win trophies and that is our goal.
âMbappe was in an offside position, the referee said Eric is going to play the ball, and that means it’s not offside. It doesn’t make sense to us. You have to try to playing the ball, Eric tried to cut the pass like any defender, he was not lacking in control. “
However, Luis Enrique found some solace in his group’s performance despite the loss.
He said: “I think we competed at the same level as the current world champions, who have physical potential and quality behind all doubt. We were in the game. It was difficult for us at the start because they are new situations for some players.
“When we scored in the second half and it looked like we could win, we conceded. They don’t even let you breathe. We’re happy and satisfied.”
France had to thank goalkeeper Hugo Lloris for two late saves as Deschamps’ side stood firm for the win against intense Spanish pressure.
Lloris did well to prevent a low shot from Oyarzabal in the 89th minute, then in stoppage time he reacted superbly to parry a strike from substitute Yeremi Pino.
The Nations League, which is only in its second edition, remains clearly the secondary tournament of UEFA for the national teams, as recalled by the Italian fans singing the triumph of their team at Euro 2020 , but that didn’t spoil France’s celebrations.
“We did not start well, we were dominated and waited for the first goal to react,” said Pogba, who played a crucial role in France’s response.
“We know we have to do better. But if this is our way of winning, so be it. Winning a trophy is always a good thing. We are always hungry for these,” he said. added.
Earlier on Sunday, Italy won third place in the tournament, beating Belgium 2-1 in Turin.