Tom Kundert’s Portugal v France preview: Portugal need to tighten up defensively
Our Matchday Squad journalist will be covering Portugal throughout Euro 2020
Just two matches in and Portugal’s Euro 2020 campaign can already be described as a rollercoaster ride. The highly encouraging 3-0 opening day victory against Hungary was followed by an abject display against Germany where a 4-2 defeat flattered Fernando Santos’ side.
In seven previous appearances at European Championships Portugal have never failed to get out of the group phase, but lose against world champions France on Wednesday and that is a very real possibility.
They will have to tighten up from the defensive point of view especially, after the Germans continuously tore up Portugal’s back line with concerning ease. At the other end of the pitch, Bruno Fernandes has been a huge disappointment so far and Portugal desperately need the Manchester United playmaker to bring his brilliant club form to the party to open up a tough French backline.
The good news is a draw will see the holders through to the round of 16. Portugal have an awful record against the French, losing 11 of their last 13 matches against Les Bleus. Indeed, Portugal have only beaten France once in a competitive match ever, albeit in the most important meeting of them all, at the Euro 2016 final five years ago.
The Portuguese will look to that match for inspiration as they desperately attempt to avoid an early trip home. The French, however, will relish the chance to exact revenge. One-nil victory to France.