(Spain 1-2 France) Karim Benzema (33) scored a dream goal before Kylian Mbappé (22) won the match as France turned around and won against Spain in the Nations League final in Milan.
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When little more than an hour had passed, a hitherto boring confrontation broke out at the San Siro. It happened more in a few minutes than in the previous 63.
First it was French defender Theo Hernández, winner of the game against Belgium on Thursday, who slammed the ball off the crossbar and fell from an oblique angle into the field. The ball bounced a few inches in front of the line and Spanish goalkeeper Unai Simon was not close to saving.
The Spaniards went directly to the attack. Sergio Busquets played with forward Mikel Oyarzabal, who was helped by a weak Dayot Upamecano in France’s central defense, broke in and passed the ball in front of Hugo Lloris for 1-0.
Live VG: Full minutes of the match
France responded immediately. Karim Benzema received the ball from Kylian Mbappé, and from the edge of 16 meters he turned the ball wonderfully into the center to Simón’s left. It is true that the goalkeeper put the tips of his fingers in the shot, but it was not enough.
The winning goal was a whim of Mbappé. Hernández was responsible for the performance, and only with the goalkeeper, the PSG forward was frozen when he deceived the goalkeeper and rolled at 2-1. It smelled violently offside, but the scoreboard was approved after the VAR team had studied the footage.
That situation is guaranteed to be discussed for a long time, but Eric Garcia’s attempt to stop the pass until Mbappé was clear enough to nullify the offside. Garcia barely had the ball and, therefore, was not offside. If the midfielder had left the ball intact, it would have been ruled, but understandably he didn’t take the opportunity.
– The referee told us that Eric García wanted to take the ball and that he was destroying the offside. But he wanted the ball because the ball was going to reach Mbappé who was out of play! It doesn’t make sense, said Spain captain Sergio Busquets according to the profiled Spanish soccer journalist. Guillem Balague.
– García tried to stop the pass because Mbappé was there and assumed that Mbappé was on his side. He did what all defenders would do to try to stop the pass, Busquets told RTVE.
But Judge Anthony Taylor and the VAR team clearly have the rules on their side.
«Correct without offside at 1-2. He is considered to have played an opponent’s ball, cf. rule 11, and before that, the Spanish player was not bothered by anyone. There are five Spanish players there. No FRA player bothers ESP who plays the ball, ”writes former FIFA referee Svein-Erik Edvartsen in Twitter.
Spain refused to surrender anyway, and they were close to equalization.
Only in the 88th minute, when Lloris followed with a great save. He got his right hand in Oyarzabal’s shot. And then four minutes into extra time when substitute Yeremi Pino thundered to a corner, but Lloris saved again.
Thus, it was a French victory in the second Nations League final in history. Portugal won the first by beating the Netherlands in the 2019 final.
There was no doubt that the final meant a lot to both teams. Especially for France, which got a long-awaited rebound after this summer’s European Championship recession when Mbappé missed out. Decisive penalty against Switzerland in the quarterfinals. The French stars cheered frantically as Captain Lloris lifted the trophy.
– I really wanted to win a trophy with France, and now it’s done, said Benzema, adding:
– We show strength and character. This team is strong and never gives up, and we proved it today. It is a strength for a team that does not panic, but is calm and waiting for the right opportunity.
It occurred minimally in the first instance purely in terms of chance. Just before the break, it was over for French goalkeeper Raphaël Varane, who suffered an injury after a corner situation and had to leave the field.
This is bad news for Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Manchester United, who have six tough games in a row in the next three weeks. Among other things, Liverpool and Manchester City in the league as well as two meetings with Atalanta in the Champions League.
Varane did not look badly injured after the game when he celebrated the final victory with the rest of the team.
P.S.! In the battle for third place in the Nations League Italy won 2-1 against Belgium after goals from Nicolo Barella and Domenico Berardi. Charles De Ketelaere cut back in the final minutes.