PARIS (Reuters) – France drew 0-0 at home against Portugal in the UEFA Nations League on Sunday in a timid clash between the world and European champions that failed to live up to its bill.
The teams were only able to pull off a shot on target in the first half, a hopeful attempt by Antoine Griezmann from the tightest angles that stung the hands of goalkeeper Rui Patricio.
Cristiano Ronaldo came close to the goal when he landed a left-footed strike on goal in added time, but his deflected shot was well saved by French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
Ronaldo also came close to scoring in the first half, but French defender Lucas Hernandez produced an excellent slip block, while Ronaldo expressed frustration with teammate Joao Felix after the striker moved away as he encountered a center that Ronaldo was waiting to turn into the net.
The result kept Portugal ahead of Group 3 of League A with seven points after three games, while France are second, also with seven. Croatia are third in three after winning 2-1 at home against Sweden, which is in last position without points.
“We were very consistent defensively, but we lacked a goal. We had a few scoring opportunities and not, but both teams were good defensively and offensively, ”said Portuguese defender Raphael Guerreiro.
His teammate Nelson Semedo explained his team’s conservative tactics.
“We had a good result in a game where both teams would have made the most of any mistakes. We have to be careful in games like this, ”he said.
Portugal defender Pepe appeared to have finally broken the deadlock by placing a diving header into the net after a free kick, but he was ruled offside.
It was the teams’ first meeting since Portugal won extra time against France in the Euro 2016 final, but the game couldn’t have felt more different, with just nine players having started this flagship match from the match on Sunday.
Only 1,000 fans were allowed into the 80,000-seat Stade de France due to coronavirus restrictions and neither side played with much urgency, seeking enough content to s ‘to cancel.
French coach Didier Deschamps praised his team’s defensive work.
“We can always do better, but given the quality of the opponent we took precautions, and we haven’t seen much Ronaldo tonight,” he said.
“Our forwards struggled, sometimes our movement wasn’t good, other times we couldn’t make the final pass.