International Soccer

France predicted lineup vs Portugal

France once again failed to offer up their best during their 1-0 last-16 win over Belgium, but they just about did enough to reach the quarter-finals of Euro 2024.

While they were considerably stronger than a disappointing Belgium outfit, it wasn’t until the 85th minute that France took the lead. Substitute Randal Kolo Muani fired at goal with a sizeable deflection off defender Jan Vertonghen helping Les Bleus into the last eight.

That’s where they will meet Portugal in a repeat of the Euro 2016 final. Revenge and a place in the semis is up for grabs for Didier Deschamps’ side, who are still struggling to hit their potential. They have managed just three goals in Germany – two own goals and a Kylian Mbappe penalty – but are also yet to concede from open play.

Here is how Deschamps could line his France side up for their mammoth Euro 2024 quarter-final clash with Portugal.

Adrien Rabiot

Adrien Rabiot is suspended for the quarter-final / BSR Agency/GettyImages

GK: Mike Maignan – With a save percentage of 92.3% and three clean sheets to his name, Maignan is having a fine tournament. Even the goal he conceded was a penalty, which he had initially saved from Robert Lewandowski despite straying from his line.

RB: Jules Kounde – The Barcelona defender has been flawless at Euro 2024 but faces an almighty test on Friday. With Nuno Mendes and Rafael Leao bombing down his flank, he will need to be at the top of his game.

CB: Dayot Upamecano – Bar gifting Poland a penalty, the much-maligned Upamecano has justified Deschamps’ faith in him. He will be hoping to face the misfiring Cristiano Ronaldo on Friday.

CB: William Saliba – Typically elegant in Germany, Saliba has been an enormous contributor in each of France’s three clean sheets. On the ball, there are few better defenders at the tournament.

LB: Theo Hernandez – If it wasn’t for his sensational last-ditch tackle against Belgium, France may not have reached the quarter-finals. The Milan star is showing he can balance attack and defence effectively despite being more influential further up the field.

CM: N’Golo Kante – France’s backline has been impeccable, but it sure helps when you have Kante in front of you. The 33-year-old has been as energetic and efficient as ever.

CM: Aurelien Tchouameni – Having been eased into the squad at Euro 2024, Tchouameni looks nailed-on to start against Portugal. Playing deeper than his midfield teammates, he will be responsible for stifling Bruno Fernandes.

CM: Antoine Griezmann – The absence of Adrien Rabiot through suspension is not ideal, but Les Bleus have plenty of options to replace the free agent. Antoine Griezmann would have started regardless, but may feature in a deeper role.

RW: Ousmane Dembele – Dropped to the bench against Belgium as France slightly altered their shape, Dembele should be fresh for the clash with Portugal. Should he start on the right flank, he will enjoy a speedy battle with Paris Saint-Germain teammate Nuno Mendes.

ST: Randal Kolo Muani – The lanky striker proved a difference-maker from the bench last time out. He forced Vertonghen’s own goal with some neat play and provided a focal point up top, potentially moving ahead of the underwhelming Marcus Thuram in the pecking order.

LW: Kylian Mbappe – The masked Real Madrid forward moved to the left wing against Belgium and may operate out wide again against Portugal. Mbappe could torture the attack-minded Joao Cancelo this Friday.

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