July 27, 2021

France-Portugal: Benzema freed, essential Pogba, introverted Koundé … Les notes des Bleus

Already qualified for the round of 16, the France team was aiming for first place in Group F against Portugal, Wednesday June 24 in Budapest. The Blues obtained it thanks to a draw (2-2), carried by a Karim Benzema able to look Cristiano Ronaldo eye to eye. Long on alternating current, the Blues woke up at the right time and then managed to preserve an advantageous score.

Hugo Lloris: 3/10

A captain is generally expected to set the tone. For once, Hugo Lloris weighed down his team because of a completely missed outing against Danilo Pereira. The face of the Portuguese midfielder tasted the forearm of the French goalkeeper, who got away with a simple yellow card (28th). Then, he was caught on the wrong foot on the two penalties of Cristiano Ronaldo, powerless (30th, 60th).

Jules Koundé: 3/10

He was the great novelty of Didier Deschamps’ eleven. For his first tenure in the French team, the young defender of Sevilla FC seemed complex and shy in his duels. His climbs in the right lane have never convinced, even if there was better in the second period. Faulty by letting his arm drag, he offered the second penalty to Cristiano Ronaldo. Too bad, because there were points to take after the disappointing performance of the usual incumbent in this position, Benjamin Pavard.

Raphaël Varane: 4.5 / 10

It is difficult to appreciate the performance of Raphaël Varane eight days after his brilliant performance against Germany. The one who must be the boss of the Blues rearguard has sometimes made the wrong choices. His handing over of the head for Cristiano Ronaldo on a harmless center, instead of ensuring with his goalkeeper, almost paid dearly (20th).

Presnel Kimpembe: 6/10

For the second meeting in a row, Presnel Kimpembe was more solid than his friend at the central hinge. His authoritative intervention on Cristiano Ronaldo in the 72nd minute is the symbol of his unfailing self-sacrifice. Apart from a missed raise at the end of the first period, the Parisian defender did not stand out negatively.

Lucas Hernandez: 4/10

Had he already been so disappointing, even disappointing at all in the France team? Lucas Hernandez was barely on his left side, battered by calls from Nelson Semedo. Warned in the 37th, he did not go far from the red by cutting an opposing counterattack by obstruction five minutes later. At the break he was replaced – “for a little problem “ according to Didier Deschamps – by Lucas Digne, for an express appearance of five minutes and an exit on injury. It was finally Adrien Rabiot (6) who occupied the position of left side for the last 40 minutes, A surprising choice by Didier Deschamps which proved convincing.

Paul Pogba: 6.5 / 10

Without being as flawless as against Germany, Paul Pogba did a lot of good for the French team in the offensive phase on Wednesday night. It’s simple, the two goals scored by the Blues were created from these passes licked in the back of the opposing defense of which he has the secret, allowing Mbappé to cause the penalty (44th) and Benzema to score his second goal (47th). He is also not far from scoring one of the goals of the tournament thanks to a curled shot from outside the area forcing Rui Patricio to make a phenomenal save (68th). His creativity will easily make people forget his complicated start to the match, manhandled by Renato Sanches and moved to the duel by Danilo Pereira.

N’Golo Kanté: 5/10

There are games where N’Golo Kanté seems everywhere on the pitch, and then there was Wednesday night. If he did not miss his match, the recent winner of the Champions League, often slightly behind in his interventions, seemed blunt. Quite far from its standards.

Corentin Tolisso: 4.5 / 10

Holder in a role of right midfielder, Corentin Tolisso did not bring what the Blues lacked against Hungary. Without being catastrophic, the Bayern Munich midfielder did not shine with his forward projections. It must be said that his association on the side with the novice Jules Koundé, also far from his favorite position, did not help. Replaced in the 67th minute by a stirring Kingsley Coman.

Antoine Griezmann: 5/10

In line with his first two matches at Euro 2021, Antoine Griezmann was more useful by his aggressiveness and his defensive efforts (4 successful tackles, match record) than in his ability to play the conductors. However, he had been replaced in the axis, his favorite area, which should allow him to better express himself. Replaced by Moussa Sissoko in the 87th.

Kylian Mbappé: 5.5 / 10

In the first half, the decision seemed to be able to be made only by him. Found in the back of the defense by Paul Pogba, he first pushed Rui Patricio to a nice parade (16th) before getting the 1-1 penalty (44th) by passing Nelson Semedo. But the Paris Saint-Germain striker appeared less and less technically efficient and less and less able to repeat defensive efforts as the match progressed.

Karim Benzema: 7/10

His first goal was expected since his return with the Blues on June 2. Karim Benzema has finally found the net, for the first time in the selection since October 8, 2015. For the occasion, he even went with his double, scoring from the penalty spot (45th) then with a cross shot with millimeters after to have been found launched in the surface (47th). A nice way to break free after a sluggish start to the match and the first part of the tournament.

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