Nations League

How France could line up against Portugal

Cristiano Ronaldo is seeking his first goal against France, but how will the world champions seek to nullify the Juventus star?

1:48pm on Saturday 14th November 2020
Robin Bairner

France and Portugal go into what is in effect a straight shootout for supremacy in UEFA Nations League Group A3.

Both nations boast 10 points after their first four games. They are flawless against Croatia and Sweden, while the previous match between the two ended in a 1-1 draw in Paris.

France: Squad, FC Ratings, Matches, Formations

The return game is set to go a long way to deciding the identity of the country that will progress to the Nations League Finals, and indeed, should there be a winner, they cannot be caught by their rivals.

France have suffered a couple of significant offensive blows in the run up to this match. Wissam Ben Yedder was forced to withdraw from the squad after suffering a Covid-19 infection, while Kylian Mbappe failed to train on Friday and will not take any part in the match.

Defeated 2-0 by Finland in a midweek friendly, France are expected to make changes to their starting XI. Indeed, Didier Deschamps is primed to make as many as nine alterations from the team that started that game and is set to change the system back to the more familiar 4-3-3.

Chelsea forward Olivier Giroud and Manchester United’s Paul Pogba are set to be the survivors, although there is no guarantee that the latter will start after a poor run of form.

Flanking Giroud in attack will be Antoine Griezmann and Kingsley Coman. Griezmann will, for the sake of the teamsheet, be deployed on the right but is liable to be given the licence to drop deep into a No.10 role at times, giving France the capacity to go into a diamond.

France squad

Goalkeepers: Costil (Bordeaux), Mandanda (Marseille), Maignan (Lille), Lloris (Tottenham)

Defenders: Zouma (Chelsea), Kimpembe (PSG), Varane (Real Madrid), Lenglet (Barcelona), Aguilar (Monaco), Digne (Everton), Dubois (Lyon), Hernandez (Bayern Munich), Pavard (Bayern Munich)

Midfielders: Pogba (Manchester United), Tolisso (Bayern Munich), Kante (Chelsea), Rabiot (Juventus), Nzonzi (Rennes), Sissoko (Tottenham)

Forwards: Griezmann (Barcelona), Giroud (Chelsea), Martial (Manchester United), Coman (Bayern Munich), Thuram (Borussia Monchengladbach), Mbappe (PSG)

Predicted France XI v Portugal

France - Football tactics and formations

Portugal, meanwhile, will be led by Cristiano Ronaldo. He has faced Les Bleus five times previously but has never scored against them.

The debate in their squad, however, comes with regards who plays with the Juventus star. Joao Felix should be given the nod for one spot, while Diogo Jota and Bernardo Silva will squabble over the other.

Portugal squad

Goalkeepers: Patricio (Wolves), Lopez (Lyon), Rui Silva (Granada)

Defenders: Nelson Semedo (Wolves), Ruben Semedo (Olympiacos), Dias (Manchester City), Duarte (Granada), Fonte (Lille), Mario Rui (Napoli), Cancelo (Manchester City), Guerreiro (Dortmund)

Midfielders: Moutinho (Wolves), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Fernandes (Manchester United), Danilo (PSG), Carvalho (Betis), Oliveira (Porto), Sanches (Lille), Neves (Wolves)

Forwards: Ronaldo (Juventus), Paulinho (Braga), Trincao (Barcelona), Pedro Neto (Wolves), Jota (Liverpool), Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid)

Predicted Portugal XI v France

Portugal - Football tactics and formations

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