• Wednesday, Dec 01, 2021
  • Last Update : 02:50 pm

Mbappe winner as France beat Spain in Nations League final

  • Published at 12:43 pm October 11th, 2021
Mbappe
France's Kylian Mbappe scores during their Nations League final against Spain in Milan Sunday Reuters

With Pogba excellent in midfield, Mbappe's speed and movement stretching Spain and Benzema a constant threat, the French were good value for their victory

World champions France won the Nations League final with goals from Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe earning them a 2-1 win over Spain at the San Siro stadium Sunday.

Didier Deschamps side had struggled to get a foothold in the game during a first half dominated by Spain but after going a goal down, following Mikel Oyarzabal's strike, they came alive.

With Paul Pogba excellent in midfield, Mbappe's speed and movement stretching Spain and Benzema a constant threat, the French were good value for their victory.

Luis Enrique's young Spain side, who had beaten European champions Italy in the semi-final, had played their trademark possession football with patience and precision but in the end could not compensate for the absence of a genuine striker.

The first half was a relatively subdued affair with Spain moving the ball well but without dangerous penetration while France were disrupted by the loss to injury of center-half Raphael Varane.

But both sides were awoken after the break when France full-back Theo Hernandez thundered a shot against the underside of the bar after a swift break.

Spain responded to that warning in clinical fashion, taking the lead when Oyarzabal latched on to a long pass from Sergio Busquets, held off Dayot Upamecano and fired into the bottom corner.

The French response was swift, however, with Mbappe finding Benzema who cut inside before unleashing a brilliant curling shot into the far corner to make it 1-1.

Mbappe then grabbed the winner, 10 minutes from the end, racing on to a through ball from Hernandez and keeping his cool to slot past Unai Simon.

Spain protested that Mbappe was offside when he received the ball but the Video Assistant Referee check found a slight touch from defender Eric Garcia had played the France striker onside.

France had keeper Hugo Lloris to thank for two late saves as Deschamps' side held on for the victory against intense Spanish pressure.

Lloris got down well to keep out a low shot from Oyarzabal in the 89th minute and then in stoppage time he reacted superbly to parry a strike from substitute Yeremi Pino.

Nations League, in just its second edition, remains clearly Uefa's secondary tournament for national sides, as the Italian fans singing of their team's Euro 2020 triumph reminded, but that didn't dampen France's celebrations.

Earlier Sunday, Italy had claimed third-place in the Final Four tournament by beating Belgium 2-1 in Turin.

RESULTS

Spain 1 (Oyarzabal 64) France 2 (Benzema 66, Mbappe 80)

Italy 2 (Barella 46, Berardi 65-P) Belgium 1 (Ketelaere 86)

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