France tops their group
France will be in ecstasy after topping Group F, which had become known as the “Death Group”.
The world championships, which go through in first place, have meant that they play Switzerland in Bucharest on Monday night. Should they win it, they would continue to face the winners in Italy vs Austria, where Mancini’s Italy had proved to be the side that has beaten this tournament so far.
France showed maturity to hold a difficult Portuguese side, with two Karim Benzema goals canceled out by two Cristiano Ronaldo penalties.
Portugal handed a difficult tie
On the other hand, the result finishes Portugal in third place and gives them a potential draw against Belgium. The Red Devils will not be any easy opponents, given their form so far in the tournament.
BELGIUM VS. PORTUGAL 🤯
Who is ready?!?!?! pic.twitter.com/6UMuBQmOEj
– ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 23, 2021
During an insane night in Group F, Portugal looked at one point as if they were heading out, and realistically, only victory over France would have given them an “easy tie”.
Ronaldo and co. England avoided more of luck than design, but will now face a Belgian side who have yet to lose in the tournament and who want to feel like themselves in the quarter-finals.
Paul Pogba is the key to France’s hope
Among the long list of talent available for The Blues, it’s easy to see Paul Pogba as just another cog, especially if one takes his Manchester United form.
96/99 passports completed (97%)
9/11 long passes completed
3 created chances
– 2 great chances
He was composed and had control everywhere. pic.twitter.com/vlBw7O5LM5
– UtdArena (@utdarena) June 23, 2021
For France, however, he seems to be the key to their hopes of success this summer.
The 28-year-old midfielder pulled the strings in the heart of Deschamps’ midfield and cuts out great chances for the top three by Karim Benzema, Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann.
To The Blues, he appears to be the only midfielder capable of playing a true defensive passing pass, something that France need plenty of to go into knockout rounds.
France loses another team member
France may have qualified at the top, but they have received another injury bracket in the process.
Ousmane Dembele has already been ruled out of the tournament due to injury against Hungary on match day 2, and it was reserve left-back Lucas Digne who was the last accident for The Blues.
The Everton defender fell right after the hour mark with indications that it was a thigh problem.
– InjuryMechanisms (@IMechanisms) June 23, 2021
This would leave France missing natural back-backs, with Corentin Tolisso in the game at right-back and Adrien Rabiot finishing the game at left-back, both of whom were natural central midfielders.
Another injury and Didier Deschamps could have a serious headache.
Ronaldo matches another record
Already in this tournament, Cristiano Ronaldo has broken the goal scoring record all the time and overtook Michel Platini on match day 1.
Cristiano Ronaldo has now scored more penalties (3) than any other player in the European Championship.
– Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 23, 2021
As a result, in the melee that was Group F, there would always be one thing. Two penalty kicks from Cristiano Ronaldo ensured that he moved level with Iranian striker Ali Daei as the all-time goal scorer at international level.
It was something predictable, and while many will point to the fact that three of the five goals that Ronaldo has netted this tournament have been from the spot, it remains an amazing record for one of the all-time majors.
1⃣0⃣9⃣ International goals 🤯
Cristiano Ronaldo’s two penalties have been the answer to the record all along – probably only a matter of time until he breaks it! pic.twitter.com/q8YNEEIajC
– 90min (@ 90min_Football) June 23, 2021
Even with penalties, the Portuguese veteran actually set a record after now scoring more goals than any other player in Euro history.
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