Big Names Fail To Shine As France And Portugal Draw 0-0
France's Kylian Mbappe challenges Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio, left, during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between France and Portugal at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, France, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
SAINT-DENIS, France: Two of soccer’s biggest teams failed to shine as World Cup winner France and European champion Portugal drew 0-0 in a largely dull UEFA Nations League encounter on Sunday.
Two of the sport’s best forwards were kept quiet, too, at a chilly Stade de France.
Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo failed to add to his 101 international goals and again drew a blank following a 0-0 draw with Spain in a friendly match. He had a good chance in the second minute of injury time, but goalkeeper Hugo Lloris palmed away his angled shot from the left.
France’s Kylian Mbappe was substituted near the end after failing to make an impression against the Nations League champion’s resolute defense.
The draw means that Portugal stays top in Group 3 of League A ahead of France on goal difference, with both on seven points and Croatia on three after beating Sweden 2-1 in the night’s other group game.
For all his goal records, Ronaldo has not scored in five career games against France and he was well marked by his former Real Madrid teammate Raphael Varane.
Still, Ronaldo had a first chance midway through the first half but left back Lucas Hernandez made a superb tackle to stop him shooting.
Ten minutes before the break, Ronaldo held his head in his hands after striker Joao Felix latched onto a pass from the left that seemed intended for Ronaldo.
France routed Ukraine 7-1 in a friendly on Wednesday, with Olivier Giroud overtaking Michel Platini in second place on the nation’s all-time top scorers’ list with 42 goals, but was largely subdued.
Giroud shot over after the ball fell to him just before the interval.
Moments after the break, Ronaldo miscued with a shot as a cross came in from the left.
Substitute Renato Sanches had a shot easily saved by Lloris in injury time, and then Ronaldo missed a chance for his 102nd goal.
Portugal hosts Sweden and France is at World Cup runner-up Croatia in Wednesday’s games.
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