What a hair-raising ending! France held off against Portugal (2-2) on Wednesday to finish first in Pool F of the Euro, where Germany, eliminated for an hour by Hungary, saved its head (2-2) and will play the eighth, just like Spain.
Until the end, the “group of death” was almost fatal to one of the big names in European football since the Mannschaft and the Seleçao, led to the score, took turns to occupy the fourth and last place synonymous with elimination.
But the Portuguese European champions were able to snatch a draw in Budapest against the French world champions: the Blues led thanks to a double from the returning Karim Benzema (45th + 2 sp, 47th) but were joined on another double, scored from the penalty spot by Cristiano Ronaldo (31st, 60th), who in the process became the co-top scorer in the history of selection football (109 goals) with the Iranian Ali Daei.
“The most important thing was the qualification, the first place. We did it in a pool which was not at all easy,” said midfielder Paul Pogba on beIN Sports. “We know we have to ramp up further.”
So here are the last known qualifiers: in addition to France, which was already guaranteed to be in the eighth, Portugal and Germany have validated their tickets, just like Spain and Ukraine a little earlier.
This directs the French to Switzerland in the eighth in Bucharest next Monday, before possibly in the quarterfinals the winner of the duel between Croatia and Spain, who qualified by strangling Slovakia (5-0).
Portugal will go on their side to Seville to challenge Belgium next Monday, one of the most attractive posters of the eighth.
For their part, the Germans of Joachim Löw have grazed the abyss but snatched a saving draw thanks to Leon Goretzka (84th), and will challenge England in the eighth at Wembley, next Tuesday, for a classic of European football.
– Ronaldo congratulates Benzema –
And Wednesday’s crazy evening, rich in twists and turns, already makes you want to be there.
In Budapest, the revenge of the 2016 final won by the Seleçao in France (1-0 ap) was incredibly intense. And the French hero was called Karim Benzema.
Everything has already been written on the return to favor of the former exile, removed for more than five years because of his legal disputes. The goals were nevertheless slow in coming.
But in two actions of class and composure, the Real Madrid striker justified the bet of coach Didier Deschamps, scoring from the penalty spot (45th + 2) then a cross shot entered with the help of the post (47th ).
“A lot of joy, a lot of pride. I think everyone was expecting it, there was this pressure,” admitted Benzema at the microphone of beIN Sports.
Ronaldo, his former partner at Real Madrid, warmly congratulated him. And he answered him on the field: while he had never scored against France, he himself signed a double on penalties, obtained on a failed exit from Hugo Lloris then a hand from Jules Koundé, for alone take the lead in the scorers classification of this Euro (5 goals).
– Germany was very hot –
In Munich, Germany was very hot: in the pouring rain of Munich and in a very inflammable political context around the refusal by UEFA to illuminate the stadium in the rainbow colors of the LGBT community. , the German selection was pushed into entrenchments by the astonishing Hungary.
But the Hungarians were finally eliminated just like Robert Lewandowski’s Poland, Slovakia or Finland.
For a long time, the specter of an exit from the first round, as at the 2018 World Cup, hung over Germany, led twice on goals from Adam Szalai (11th) and Andras Schäfer (68th).
But Kai Havertz (66th) and especially Leon Goretzka (84th) saved Löw from another inglorious elimination for his last tournament on the bench of Germany.
In Seville, a little earlier, the first score-river of this Euro was the work of Spain who finally released their attack against Slovakia (5-0), with in particular a goal by the Franco-Spanish defector Aymeric The door.
Here are the Spaniards launched towards Copenhagen, where they will face Luka Modric’s Croatia on Monday. And we can’t wait to attend these choppy matches!