Showered Wednesday by Finland, the France team challenges Portugal, Saturday November 14 in Lisbon.

The Blues hope to dethrone the supporters of the League of Nations, seven months before a spicy reunion at the start of Euro.

But they will have to try the performance without Kylian Mbappé.

Injured in the thigh, the Parisian striker will not be there, according to the list sent by UEFA.

"Want to bounce back"

In Lisbon on Saturday, L'Estádio da Luz, nicknamed the "cathedral" by Benfica supporters, will be as quiet as the Stade de France, where the French team was crucified 2-0 by modest 55th Finland. world nation, Wednesday in friendly. 

But the cast will be radically different and the stake, from a whole different dimension.

The eventual winner of this shock at the top of group A3 will get his ticket to the finals ("Final 4") of the new UEFA competition, the first edition of which was won by the Portuguese in 2019.

After their defeat against Finland, the Blues "want to bounce back" and "achieve a great performance" against the Seleçao, "a very strong team, very sure of itself", summarized the French captain, Hugo Lloris.

The Portugal-France poster revives the memory of the Euro-2016 final, won 1-0 by the Seleçao in extra time, but it also gives a taste of the enticing duel scheduled between the two nations on June 23 next in Budapest in the first round of the Euro, postponed for a year.

The Blues trained yesterday to prepare for their Nations League match against Portugal (at 8:45 p.m. on TF1) 👊 #FiersdetreBleus


- French team ⭐⭐ (@equipedefrance) November 14, 2020

Mbappé, absent

Will the France-Portugal poster sparkle on Saturday?

The dull round to go (0-0), in Saint-Denis last month, invites caution, especially as several executives of the France team could be missing.

Injured in a thigh for several days, Kylian Mbappé is not in the list of 23 players selected by Didier Deschamps and published by UEFA a few hours before the match, as is the fourth goalkeeper in the French group, Benoît Costil. 

Asked by AFP, the management of the France team did not confirm or deny the package of Mbappé.

At the start of the rally on Monday, the 21-year-old arrived recovering from a muscle injury he contracted with Paris Saint-Germain.

His concern in a thigh had also prevented him from playing the previous weekend in the league against Rennes.

Kylian Mbappé was unable to fully participate in the last collective training on Friday, two days after skipping the lost friendly match against Finland.

Didier Deschamps must also do without the other co-top scorer of the last French Championship, Wissam Ben Yedder, tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday, and therefore forfeit.

"Not come here to suffer"

In the opposite camp, Fernando Santos can count on his captain and five-time Ballon d'Or Cristiano Ronaldo, "physically good", but also his other nuggets of attack Joao Felix, Diogo Jota or Bernardo Silva, but not on central defense veteran Pepe (37), injured in his foot.

First winners of the competition, the Portuguese will once again advance to the final phase (semi then final) of the League of Nations scheduled for October 2021 if they beat the Blues.

The French will steal the ticket from them in case of victory, in addition to avoiding a second defeat in a row, an unprecedented poor performance for the Blues since 2015 (Belgium then Albania in friendly).

The last possible scenario, a draw would keep the suspense intact before the final game Tuesday of France against Sweden and Portugal in Croatia.

"I'm expecting a similar match in the first leg (0-0) with strong, very tactical teams. Will there be goals this time? I hope so, at least for us" , smiled Deschamps in front of the journalists, affirming that the idea was "not to come here to suffer".

His counterpart Fernando Santos was also ambitious.

"My goal is always to win," he said.

"We have to show dynamism, quality and creativity to score goals," said the Lusitano technician on Friday, three days after Portugal's 7-0 friendly demonstration against Andorra.

With AFP

The summary of the week

France 24 invites you to come back to the news that marked the week

I subscribe

Take international news everywhere with you!

Download the France 24 application