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UEFA Nations League: France pips Spain to win the title

After a disappointing run in EURO 2020, France once again asserted its dominance in Men’s European football by clinching the UEFA Nations League title dramatically. In the recent international break, the world champions defeated Belgium in a thrilling semifinal clash and booked a spot in the final. They were up against Spain who had overcome a strong Italian side in their semifinal match.


Spain had the upper hand throughout the first 45 minutes in terms of chances and possession. They imposed their passing game on their opponents, creating a couple of chances in the process. Full-back Marcus Alonso went close to breaking the deadlock as his free kick in the 36th minute went past the French goalpost. Their opponents were dealt a huge blow as defender Raphael Varane hobbled off the pitch with an injury, in the 41st minute. Despite the chances, the game failed to give us a goal as both teams went into half-time, tied on scores.


France came out in the second half with a much-improved performance. They tried to physically dominate their opponents but it was Spain who drew the first blood, as Mikel Oyarzabal sneaked past the French backline and put the ball past Lloris to give his team the lead. But just like they did in their previous match, France responded brilliantly through Karim Benzema, who pulled a rabbit out of the hat as he curled the ball right into the Spanish goal despite Unai Simon’s best efforts.


Both managers then made a number of substitutions as both teams were looking for the winning goal. Kylian Mbappe came close to scoring as he found himself in front of an open net but failed to capitalize. But he made amends the next time as he made a run and found the bottom corner with his shot, amid calls for the goal to be disallowed for offside. After a VAR check, the goal was allowed to stand and France led Spain by 2-1 with almost 10 minutes to go.


The last period saw Spain’s efforts of finding an equalizer go in vain as their opponents defended with determination and focus. Hugo Lloris was called into action as he made an outstanding save from Oyarzabal’s shot in the 88th minute. The world champions held their nerve and absorbed the pressure to finally win the game by 2-1.


It was a brave performance by a relatively inexperienced Spanish side. But France showed their class and came from behind to win the game, for the second time running.


 


 


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