After several difficult months, France hopes that their victory over Belgium in the UEFA Nations League will spark a recovery as they play the final against Spain on Sunday in Milan.
France trailed by two goals, but turned the game around to win 3-2 thanks to a goal from Theo Hernández in the last minute.
It was only the second win after five consecutive draws by Didier Deschamps’ team, which had a poor campaign in the Eurocup.
“Mentally we were very low and we needed a crucial match to get back on track,” France captain Hugo Lloris said on Saturday. “And against Belgium everything was given to us to regain confidence.
“That’s how it was in the second half and I hope that he will help us start the game tomorrow with the best of intentions. It will be difficult … it is up to us to give everything we can on the pitch ”.
World champion France was one of the favorites to win Euro 2020, but despite having a team with plenty of talent, Les Bleus won only one match: the opening match against Germany. They lost to Switzerland in the round of 16 on a penalty shootout, when they had led 3-1 with 15 minutes to go.
It seemed that another disappointment awaited them on Thursday in the semi-finals against Belgium. France trailed 2-0 at the end of the first half, but a spectacular performance in the second sent Les Bleus to the final.
“It is always a special moment to play a final for your country, although this competition does not look like the World Cup or the Euro, but it is a trophy worth winning,” said Lloris.
This is the second edition of the UEFA Nations League, and while it is not a highly prestigious tournament, the quality of the game has been spectacular.
The exciting French victory was preceded on the eve by an entertaining match in which Spain beat European champion Italy 2-1. That match was played at a dizzying pace until the expulsion of Italian Leonardo Bonucci shortly before the end of the first half.
Ferran Torres scored both of Spain’s goals that ended the Italians’ 37-game unbeaten streak and led it to their first final since Euro 2012.
“For many it is our first final with the national team, it would be very exciting to lift our first title,” said Ferran. “We are going to go all out to achieve that goal.”
“This team is characterized by how well it does as a team. That is our greatest strength ”, he affirmed.
Coach Luis Enrique Martínez acknowledged that “France is, individually, the best team in the world, you just need to see their eleven, reference players in their clubs. We still have the advantage of being a team; we can still improve our performance ”.
The strength of Spain as a team will face the stellar game of the French attack: Kylian Mbappé, Antoine Griezmann and Karim Benzema.
Torres is in a race against time to regain his fitness. He had to leave after 49 minutes of the match against Italy after receiving a blow.
“I am optimistic, I see myself with possibilities and with desire. As the coach (coach) said, we’ll see in the warm-up ”, he added.
French midfielder Adrien Rabiot will miss the match because he tested positive for the coronavirus. The rest of the team underwent additional tests that came back negative.
Previously, Belgium and Italy will compete for third place in Turin. Belgians Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard and Thomas Foket will not be able to play due to injuries.