France will be very difficult to beat in front of an expectant Stade de France
On Sunday night, it will be ‘do or die’ time for France and Portugal. One of them will be crowned European champions, the other side will have to stand and watch whilst dreaming about what could have been. These are the kind of games that separate the men from the boys – and you could argue that both nations are up to the task of emerging victorious.
But for me, France have the upper hand. Home advantage will be crucial; there’s no doubt about it. The Stade de France will be predominantly French on Sunday evening and Didier Deschamps’ side are ready to deliver. France have failed to inspire confidence on the big stage since winning the Euros in 2000 but memories of their embarrassing performances at recent World Cups will be instantly erased if they win this weekend.
France’s route to the final hasn’t been overly difficult but tough contests against the Republic of Ireland and Germany will have helped to enhance their preparation ahead of Sunday’s clash. In addition, Deschamps has a vast array of talent at his disposal and Les Bleus could prosper from his substitutions. After all, these will be crucial if the contest is still in the balance after 60 minutes…
If truth be told, Portugal have somewhat fraudulently managed to reach the Euro 2016 final. Fernando Santos’ men haven’t played particularly well this summer but their poor performances will be overlooked if they can pip France on Sunday evening. And while most aren’t giving Portugal much of a chance, they are capable of producing a shock performance when it matters most.
While Portugal have a core group of players, Santos has used every single outfield player at some stage throughout the competition – an astonishing statistic. The Portuguese have won just one match (their 2-0 victory over Wales in the semi-finals) inside the scheduled 90 minutes and those extra minutes could come back to haunt Portugal if it is a fast and furious encounter.
Portugal’s hopes lie and rest with Cristiano Ronaldo. If he plays well, Portugal have a chance. If not, they will struggle to keep pace with France’s dominant attack. The Portuguese star netted the opening goal in the semi-final before his fortuitous assist for Nani’s second goal just three minutes later. Ronaldo is capable of changing a game in a matter of moments and France will be wary of his colossal threat in attack.
When you’ve got Ronaldo, anything is possible and Portugal will be hoping their talisman is in red-hot form on Sunday night. Unfortunately, the Real Madrid man is Portugal’s only world class talent and that might not be enough against France’s star-studded side. With Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann and Blaise Matuidi in the starting line-up, France could overpower Portugal and that is why I’m backing Didier Deschamps’ men to stroll to victory and a third major tournament success on home soil.
France to win in 90 minutes @ EVSAdd to betslip
France to score in both halves @ 11/4Add to betslip
Olivier Giroud to score the first goal @ 5/1Add to betslip
Correct Score: France to win 2-0 @ 7/1Add to betslip
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