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France vs Portugal, UEFA Euro 2024, Today Match Prediction

Volksparkstadion Stadium, Hamburg, Germany

Can Portugal breach the defensive unit of France?

  • Portugal scored nine goals in their last six matches
  • France won five of the nine head to head matches played against Portugal
  • The average goals per game in the h2h matches between both the teams is 1.89.

France to win (1-0)

Tournament: UEFA Euro 2024 | Venue: Volksparkstadion Stadium, Hamburg, Germany

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France, the two-time Euro Cup winners, will face Portugal, the 2016 Champions, in the second  quarter final of Euro 2024 on Friday, July 5 at the Volksparkstadion in Hamburg. It's going to be yet another game to look forward to if you are a neutral fan. 

Portugal beat Slovenia on their way to the quarterfinals, but the game was far from easy, with the Slovenians putting up a dogged fight and took the game into the penalties. In the end, thanks to Diogo Costa's heroics, Portugal did make their way into the quarterfinals. 

Les Bleus, on the other hand, breezed past  Belgium in the round-of-16 and advanced to the quarterfinals. The final score of 1-0 does not appear to be overwhelming, yet France dominated Belgium throughout the game. If they win on Friday, France will have reached four out of five major event semifinals, having reached the semis of 2016 Euro Cup, 2018 & 2022 World Cup. 

France Preview

The match against the French on Friday will be Portugal’s seventh appearance in the quarterfinals of a UEFA European Championship, the most by any team. However, against a much-fancied French side, the Selecao will need to raise their games by a few levels if they are to progress beyond the quarterfinals of Euro 2024. They had a couple of underpar performances in their last two matches, which saw them lose to Georgia (2-0) and a 0-0 against 57th ranked Slovenia. Clearly, not being able to score goals will be their biggest concern, and it's likely to get worse against a French side that boasts a strong defence that has conceded only once in the last six games. 

In the game against Slovenia, across 90 minutes, Portugal only managed three shots on target, and their expected goal total was 0.9. So what has gone wrong for a side that has one of the most potent attacking units in Euro 2024? The answer is simple:  Robert Martinez's unbreakable faith in Ronaldo and directing  all the attacking plays through the great man who is past his prime. 

It was evident in the game against Slovenia, as they made 31 open play crosses directed towards one man, while across the tournament they've made 97 crosses, 32 more than any other team. With somebody like Goncalo Ramos warming the bench, maybe it's time that Martinez thought about replacing him for Ronaldo.  As far as tactics are concerned, expect Robert Martinez to employ the 4-2-3-1 formation once again. No changes are expected to the starting XI unless they decide to do the unthinkable and bench Ronaldo.  

Portugal Probable Starting XI - Diogo Costa( Goalkeeper) ; Cancelo, Dias, Pepe, Mendes (Defenders) ; Palhinha, Vitinha,  Bruno Fernandes (Midfielders) ; Bernardo Silva, Rafael Leao, Ronaldo (Forwards) 

Portugal Preview

Like Portugal, France  has struggled to find the back of the net. On paper, they have scored 3 goals in the tournament, but none from open play, as two of them were own-goals. Didier Deschamps has tried different combinations in all the games, but it still wasn't enough to bring about the results. In their last game, he tried a 4-3-3 combination with the trio of Mbappe, Thuram, and Griezmann at the front, with Mbappe playing as a striker rather than his preferred position in the wings. During the course of that match, Les Bleus enjoyed a possession rate of 60% with a passing accuracy of 92%. Only Serbia and Belgium had a worse shot conversion than the French in the group stages. 

Meanwhile, the French have looked formidable in defence. Lewandowski’s penalty for Poland was the only goal that Les Bleus conceded in their last six matches. The likes of N'Golo Kante, Theo Hernandez, and Upamecano have been the standouts. Coming to the tactics for this game, with Rabiot out of the XI due to suspension, there is a chance for Deschamps to opt for the 4-2-3-1 formation, with Mbappe going to the wide flank and Dembele coming back into the XI to occupy the other flank. 

Given Tchouameni's performance in the match, 21 line-breaking passes with 15 of those in the final third, he will be expected to keep his place while allowing Griezmann to occupy the more central role.  As far as other changes are concerned, we expect Kolo Muani to occupy the position of  striker in place of Thuram. Meanwhile, no injury concerns are reported in the French camp. 

France Probable Starting XI -Maignan (Goalkeeper) ; Kounde, Saliba, Upamecano, Hernandez (Defenders) ; Kante, Tchouameni, Griezmann (Midfielders) ; Mbappe, Kolo Muani, Dembele

Friday’s quarterfinal will be the fifth meeting between France and Portugal in a European Championship, with the Selecao having gone unbeaten in the last two games. The most renowned of course was the historic victory over Les Bleus in the final of Euro 2016. However, the French have had better success against Portugal for quite some time now. In the last 14 games played between the teams, Didier Deschamps side has won 11 of those while managing to draw 2.

In terms of performance,  both sides have been below par throughout the campaign. Portugal’s inclination towards carrying Ronaldo and France's woes  up front with converting their chances, have caused issues for both teams. But then, despite sleepwalking into the quarters, France has this tendency to up their game when needed. We believe this could be that game for France. Unfortunately for Portugal, this could be it for them. 

France to win (1-0)


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Author: Vishnu Reddy