So France finish top of the toughest group in the tournament. But their performances so far suggest they are far from unbeatable. They have been lethargic and disjointed for many spells in their three games, and Deschamps’ conservatism seems to have constricted them at times. What is more, they lost both their left-backs – Hernandez and Digne – to injury today so will need to come up with a plan to cover that loss going forward.
Full-time: Portugal 2-2 France
A topsy-turvy game ends with a result that suits both teams. France finish top of Group F and will face Switzerland in the Last 16. Portugal go through as one of the best third-place teams (and face Belgium, I think), while second spot in the group goes to Germany, who will face England next.
90+4 min: The game in Munich is over. Germany 2-2 Hungary. That means France and Portugal have no incentive to do anything to change things here.
90+2 min: Coman tries to zoom past Fernandes in the box. He goes down under a scruffy challenge. That looked more like a penalty that the one given against Semedo in the first half! The ref doesn’t give it but a VAR check is in progress.
90 min: France stroke the ball around at the back. Portugal don’t bother interrupting. There will be at least another five minutes. Time for one more twist, even if neither team seems too pushed?
88 min: The pace has dropped. Either the teams are knackered or they’re satisfied with how the group is looking, irrespective of what happens in Germany.
86 min: Coman back in action at the other end, laying the ball back from the byline to Griezmann at the edge of the area. Griezmann tonks it high and wide. And that’s his last contribution before being replaced by Sissoko.
84 min: Fernandes battles with three Frenchman wide on the right and comes out on top! Then he shifts the ball on to Ronaldo at the edge of the area. but Coman, who has mad such a difference to France’s attack, shows his defensive worth by rushing in to nick the ball off Ronaldo.
83 min: Goal in Munich! It’s Germany 2-2 Hungary. That puts Germany into second place in the group – and on course for Wembley – while Portugal are in third.
81 min: Sanches barrels his way towards the French box, but Kanté, who initially seemed beaten, keeps at him and eventually pinches the ball, just before Sanches could get off a shot. Both those players have been terrific today.
77 min: Semedo is down hurt. He seems to have pulled something. Pepe has signalled to the bench that a change needs to be made. Meanwhile, Dias and Ronaldo are in very animated discussions about something or other.
75 min: France have perked up a lot since Coman’s introduction. Much more movement and speed. But Semedo does well to block a long-range shot from Griezmann.
72 min: Palinha looks up and sees Jota appealing for a cross on the left. He ignores him and has a pop himself from 25 yards. It sails way over.
70 min: France attack down the right, where Coman has made a big difference and is being ably supported by Koundé. But when the ball comes to Benzema at the left-hand corner of the Portuguese box, he wafts a gentle shot into the keeper’s arms.
68 min: Rabiot eschews a shot from 20 yards, rolling it instead to Pogba, who feints to shoot and then dodges past Palinha and unleashes a magnificent shot from 25 yards. Patricio produces a wonderful one-handed save, sweeping the ball onto the post and out! Then he leaps to his feet to turn away Griezmann’s follow-up! He’s had an iffy season for Wolves but that was brilliant from Patricio!
67 min: France have made a change as they try to invigorate their attack: Coman is on, replacing Tolisso.
65 min: Germany have equalised against Hungary. And while I was writing that, Hungary have scored again and now lead 2-1!
63 min: Bernardo Silva balloons the freekick into the stands when he had a whole platoon of teammates waiting for a neat delivery in the box. That was bizarrely bad.
62 min: The early indications after the introduction of Rabiot were, in fact, misleading. The way it looks now, Koundé is still at right-back and Rabiot is trying his luck at left-back, where he has just given away a freekick.
61 min: Want a Group F Table update? As things stands, it’s 1. France 2. Portugal 3. Hungary 4. Germany
GOAL! Portugal 2-2 France (Ronaldo pen 60)
He draws his country level while equalling the all-time international scoring record!
Penalty to Portugal!
Koundé inadvertently blocks a Ronaldo cross from the byline with his arm! He was very close to the ball but his arms were flapping in front of him. I think this will stand even after the VAR review!
57 min: Jota has been very quiet so far. Maybe the change of left-backs will help him find a way into the game? “The Digne for Hernandez change at half-time was not just a ‘positive change’ it was injury enforced according to Deschamps on French TV at half-time,” says Robert Lin. “France have just lost their two left-backs.” Maybe Aymeric Laporte could fill in there. Oh, wait.
55 min: Portugal look crestfallen. They need to find a second wind or they’ll be left relying on Germany to come back against Hungary. “Though there aren’t many players of the calibre of France and Germany in the Premier League, these last two games clearly showed weakness in Ruben Dias game, “ ventures Yash Gupta. “A lack of pace more visible in short runs, can be easily dragged out of position just like in Champions League Final and faulty offside trap. He was outstanding last season but he would not find it easy this time around.”
53 min: France has rejigged their defence to cope with Digne’s departure. Kounde has shifted from right-back to the left, Tolisso has gone to right-back and Rabiot is in his natural midfield habitat.k
51 min: Here’s a problem for France. Digne has just pulled up lame and indicated that he can’t continue. He seems to have pulled a muscle in his thigh. That’s a real pity for the Everton man, who had a chance to stake his claim for the first-choice let-back spot. Now his tournament could be over. Off he limps, replaced by Rabiot.
49 min: Guerreiro clips a lovely cross from the left. Ronaldo springs high but heads wide from six yards.
GOAL! Portugal 1-2 France (Benzema 48)
Pogba released Benzema with a masterful pass from deep. The striker finishes first-time, firing in low off the far post from eight yards. The flag goes up for offside, but a VAR review confirms that Benzema had timed his run to perfection. France are in front! Portugal are in trouble. They’re bottom of the group as things stand!
46 min: What’s this? A positive change from Deschamps: He’s replaced Hernandez with Digne for the second half. Meanwhile, Portugal are introducing Palinha for Danilo, possibly because the latter has not fully recovered from being clobbered by Lloris.
“I was going to send you a dramatic email about how France have been terrible, deserves to lose and are going out to England in the round of 16 given how we’re playing against another defensive minded team,” writes Alexandre Chesneau. “But VAR somehow confirms what seems, at best, a very light penalty, and we get an equaliser no one had seen coming. I think I was too pessimistic – it seems our best player – Deschamps’ luck – is still here and in great form. Hopefully he wins us this tournament. Well, I hope as a neutral you enjoy this match more than me.” The thing is, Alexandre, France are not enjoyable to watch. It’s outrageous, really, how Deschamps can make a squad with such creative talent so dull. Well done on winning the World Cup and all, but France are boring.
“Whatever about Portugal’s penalty, the decision to give France one was ridiculous, especially with VAR in operation,” storms Samuel Campbell, and many, many others, all of whom are right.
“I disagree with your justification of the Portugal penalty [“That wasn’t his intention but no outfield player would get away with it”] ,” snorts Sam Hankins. “That doesn’t quite take into account that no outfield player is entitled to use their hands. It’s kinda the only advantage a keeper has.” There are not different rules for different limbs: a keeper has to be as careful with his arms as an outfield player must be with his legs.
Half-time: Portugal 1-1 France
France have been lethargic and predictable but they go into the break level thanks to a silly penalty, well converted by Benzema. That cancelled out the one that Ronaldo scored for Portugal after recklessness by Lloris. As things stand, France are top of Group F and Portugal are second – and headed for a date with England. But there’s surely plenty more drama to come in the second half …
GOAL! Portugal 1-1 France (Benzema pen 45+3)
France had missed six of their last 11 penalties … but not this one. Benzema, who had one saved by Danny Ward in the build-up to this tournament, sends Patricio the wrong way.
45+2 min: Portugal players are protesting. The ref points at his headset to indicate that the Var people are studying the evidence.
Penalty to France!
Mbappé went down in the vicinity of Semedo as he tried to reach a pass from Pogba. It’s bad decision, in my book, as the fullback was guilty not nothing more serious than not getting out of the way of Mbappé as he ran with him, and Mbappé wasn’t going to get the ball either.
44 min: Lloris is not called into action because Moutinho fails to get the freekick beyond the wall.
43 min: Ronaldo sells Kimpembe a few lollipops and then gets a boot in return. Freekick to Portugal wide on the right. Careful how you come for this one, Hugo!
42 min: Moutinho slashes wide from 20 yards. There’s a lot of discussion in my inbox about the penalty decision. Some say it was absurd, others back the ref. No one actually asked my opinion but I’m going to give it anyway: awarding the penalty was right, because goalkeeping recklessness should be punished more often. Lloris jumped at his opponents fist-first and caught him in the head. That wasn’t his intention but no outfield player would get away with it.
39 min: Griezmann booked for bumping late into Danilo. That’s three yellows already for France, and that reflects the fact that Portugal have been sharper than them all over the pitch.
39 min: Varane goes long for Benzema, who can’t get the ball under control before being outmuscled by Pepe.
38 min: Varane curls a cross from deep beyond the back post. Griezmann tries to hook it back into the danger zone. Instead he donks it into the stands.
37 min: Hernandez booked for tripping Bernardo, who’s definitely got the better of him so far.
35 min: France’s response to falling behind has been curiously close to a shoulder shrug. They’re not exactly fired up.