Boring Portugal To Lose One-Sided Final
Portugal v France
So the hosts are in the Final!
Allez Les Bleus
Not sure about you but I think they’ve been the only one of the big boys in the tournament that have given value throughout. In Griezmann, Payet and the oft maligned Olivier Giroud, they have maintained a threat through the tournament, rather than rely of one player such as a Ronaldo, Bale or Zlatan to do the business.
The questions about the midfield and back 4 though were still there through the Germany game, so if Cristiano was watching rather than plucking his eyebrows and shaving his legs, he will have seen plenty of opportunity to strike and strike hard against the French in Paris should he get good support from Sanches and Nani.
I feel for Germany a little as they absolutely pummeled the French for most of the first half and to be honest I thought the rule for penalties and hand ball in the box had to be deliberate.
Not sure anyone with certainty could say the handball was anything other than leverage but the timing was right for France just before the break, which I’m sure settled a few down in the dressing room, in the stadium and gave Deschamps the rallying call he needed for Les Bleus to be more proactive in the second half.
As for Antoine Griezmann, the world is his oyster over the coming years. All credit to Atletico Madrid, they have an outstanding knack of buying quality, at the right price, at the right time to develop just under the bones of the big boys who want proven and off the peg.
His energy and workmanship are exceptional, an eye for goal which may well take the golden ball ahead of my pre tournament pick, Giroud, and the kind of factious running with the ball that means his midfielders and defenders can take a breather in the knowledge he will ask plenty of questions down the other end of the pitch.
Do I think they will win it now? Of course I do, winners in ’84 in this tournament, which as a 13 year old kid had me drooling over Platini, Tigana and co, winners of the World Cup on home soil in 1998 with Zidane, Henry and co, and another Euros in 2000, there just seems to be an air of inevitability about this team, and about the French on their own turf.
Portugal have bored me to tears to be honest, so for the good of the tournament and its legacy, great that it would be for many to see Cristiano win a major international tournament with The Selecao, I think Nani apart, the Portuguese have mostly ground their way through the tournament and I’m sure for the neutral just advent earned the respect and admiration that some of the French individuals or collective have.
The fact that their first win in regulation time came in the Semi-Final against Wales tells its own story, a very good team a few years ago with undoubted latter stages potential at tournaments long gone, now having a final fling to see if the nation with an incredible array of individual talent can finally pick up some major silverware. I don’t think they can and I feel the French could win at least 2-0 or 3-1.
Now for Wales! What a journey, what a tournament, and if any inspiration was needed for the Scots who didn’t make this one, the Northern Irish who most certainly did, and the English in particular who are no longer the big boys of Britain, then this Welsh team set a marker for all of the home nations.
They have a tough World Cup group and qualification isn’t as favourable for Chris Coleman and his squad as at the Euros, which may prove to be the route by which they can maintain their place on the football map, but if, if this group can maintain its standards, its belief and add one or two more fresh faces to the group, Austria, Serbia and Republic of Ireland will not have fans going to Cardiff for sure.
I for one love the bloody nose England got, our players have time to think, qualifiers themselves to start in September and we’ll see if the 3 Lions have the stomach for the fight and get back on their perch.
Good Luck France!
Looking forward to the final, it’s simple for France, get the pack dogs, N’Golo Kante and Blaise Matuidi keeping a close eye on Ronaldo and Nani and that for me will be enough. Win the ball quickly and often, get Griezmann, Payet and co on the ball moving forward and I genuinely see one of the most one sided finals we may see at this level for a while.
If either of those pack dogs though fall asleep, are affected by nerves, a niggle or even have to go off with injury, then it’s far more even. Until that happens though I can’t stress enough how much more France have than Portugal, so I’ll stick my neck out and go 3-0!
Allez Les Bleus!