France With Chance to Renew Portugal Rivalry

France will take on Portugal in the quarterfinal of Euro 2024 in Hamburg on Friday. Les Bleus beat Belgium 1-0 in their round of 16 clash, while the Portuguese prevailed over Slovenia in penalties. The two countries have often collided at the major international tournaments in the past and share a great rivalry.

France and Portugal Are Quite Familiar With Each Other

The two nations met in an exhilarating match at the European Championships in 1984, as Michel Platini’s brilliance saw the French through. Portugal endured a dark period thereafter, failing to even qualify for a number of major tournaments.
However, Portugal’s golden generation revived its fortunes by qualifying and reaching the semifinal of the European Championships in 2000. However, it was then Zinedine Zidane’s turn to punish the Portuguese with his brilliance, as France won 2-1 to reach the final and then win the title.
Portugal once again lost to France in the semifinal of the World Cup in 2006, with Zidane shining bright once again. However, the Portuguese had their revenge against them on French soil itself in 2016 by winning in the final of tje Eirps to win their maiden European crown.
The two countries have found another chance of renewing their rivalry this time in Germany, with history favouring the French. It should be an absorbing battle between two very good teams, with France being slightly ahead in terms of its overall quality.

The French Defence Will Be Tested

France has one of the best defences in the tournament and has let in only a solitary goal in its four matches in the tournament so far. However, Portugal’s attack seems to have enough firepower in it to test the French defenders. Cristiano Ronaldo, who is yet to score in what should be his final major tournament, will try to shine once again for his country.
However, Portugal will probably depend more on Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva and Rafael Leão to breach the French defence. Both Bernardo and Fernandes have been pretty solid with their performances so far. As a result, the likes of William Saliba and Dayot Upamecano will be wary of them. Moreover, if Portugal’s wing-backs, Pedro Neto/Nuno Mendes and João Cancelo manage to combine well with their midfielders, the French defence might be facing a lot of difficulties in the match.  
France has enough firepower in their attack too, to cause Portugal a lot of trouble. The Portuguese might take a leaf out of Belgium’s book and not allow Kylian Mbappé much space by playing with a low block. Mbappé has not had a particularly good tournament so far and with Antoine Griezmann also not firing, the French have looked quite ordinary in their attack at times.
The onus will be on the youngsters like Marcus Thuram and Randal Kolo Muani to trouble the Portuguese defence on the day. Players like Ousmane Dembélé and Kingsley Coman might also be given chances to prove their utility for the French. Overall, it promises to be quite an exciting match on Friday night in Hamburg.

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