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Spain 1-2 France: Player ratings as Les Bleus snatch Nations League glory

Krishan Davis
France are UEFA Nations League champions
France are UEFA Nations League champions / FRANCK FIFE/GettyImages

A late strike from Kylian Mbappe saw France come from behind to beat Spain and seal the 2020/21 Nations League crown at San Siro on Sunday night.

The first half passed with little incident. While Spain dominated possession, France had the best half-chance as Karim Benzema latched onto Paul Pogba's fine through ball before rounding Unai Simon in the Spain goal. However, the angle closed and he was unable to get an effort on target.

The match continued as a tactical battle following the break before springing into life shortly after the hour mark.

First, France wing-back Theo Hernandez popped up in the opposition penalty area and fired a good effort against the bar. Spain broke, with Sergio Busquets clipping a fine long ball into Mikel Oyarzabal, who held off substitute Dayot Upamecano and found the bottom corner with a pinpoint finish across Hugo Lloris.

However, the lead lasted barely two minutes, as France attacked straight from the restart and Benzema produced a wonderful, arcing finish into the top corner - despite Unai Simon's fingertips. Les Bleus were in the ascendancy, with Mbappe spurning a half-chance soon afterwards.

With ten minutes remaining the former prodigy made amends, running onto Hernandez's pass, throwing a stepover and slotting the ball under Simon. Replays seemed to show the Paris Saint-Germain forward was offside, but the goal somehow survived a VAR check.

Oyarzabal, Mbappe and Pablo Fornals all missed opportunities in the frantic last knockings of the game, but France held on to win the Nations League.

Here's how the players rated...


1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Aymeric Laporte
Laporte was impressive against the country he had planned to represent / CPS Images/GettyImages

Unai Simon (GK) - 6/10 - Untested in the first half. Read a through ball well to cut it out and deny Mbappe. Couldn't keep Benzema's wonderful strike out.

Cesar Azpilicueta (RB) - 6/10 - Solid as ever, but unable to influence things going forward like he does for his club.

Eric Garcia (CB) - 6/10 - Neat and tidy but left a gaping hole behind him and failed to cut the ball out for Mbappe's winner.

Aymeric Laporte (CB) - 7/10 - Impressive against his former country. Booked as Spain creaked under pressure.

Marcos Alonso (LB) - 7/10 - Had Hugo Lloris scrambling briefly as he put a very long-range free kick narrowly wide. Crucial challenge to deny Mbappe early in the second half.

2. Midfielders

Gavi, Aurelien Tchouameni
Once again Gavi didn't look out of place / Pool/GettyImages

Gavi (CM) - 6/10 - Always playing on the half-turn. Lucky not to be booked for hacking at Pogba. Subbed.

Sergio Busquets (CM) - 7/10 - Typically metronomic without being spectacular. Lovely turn early in the second half before playing a lofted assist over the top for Oyarzabal.

Rodri (CM) - 6/10 - Lucky to escape yellow for clattering Aurelien Tchouameni. Given the job of doing the dirty work before being hooked late on.

3. Forwards

Hugo Lloris, Mikel Oyarzabal
Oyarzabal finds the corner / Pool/GettyImages

Ferran Torres (RW) - 6/10 - Looked dangerous but no end product from out wide in the first half. Barely in the game after the break.

Mikel Oyarzabal (ST) - 7/10 - Quiet until showing great strength against Upamecano before arrowing home a low finish. Always looked dangerous in the second half.

Pablo Sarabia (LW) - 5/10 - Just like Torres, his delivery was poor far too often. Failed to capitalise on Kounde giving it away. Subbed.

4. Substitutes

Yeremi Pino (LW) - 7/10 - Far more direct and threatening than Sarabia.

Koke (CM) - 6/10

Mikel Merino (CM) - N/A

Pablo Fornals (RW) - N/A


5. Goalkeeper & defenders

Raphael Varane
Varane was forced off injured / CPS Images/GettyImages

Hugo Lloris (GK) - 7/10 - Nothing he could do about the opener. Some loose kicking. Two excellent late saves to keep France ahead.

Jules Kounde (CB) - 6/10 - Escaped a VAR penalty check after a cross hit his trailing arm before covering well to stop Oyarzabal running through. Lucky not to be punished after giving the ball away to Sarabia deep in his own half. Booked.

Raphael Varane (CB) - 6/10 - Forced off injured shortly before half-time. Seemed to pick up the knock when cutting out a cross. Completely innocuous.

Presnel Kimpembe (CB) - 7/10 - Kept his head and won plenty of aerial duels, as well as snapping into some fine tackles on the ground.

6. Wing-backs & midfielders

Spain v France - UEFA Nations League
Pogba was majestic at times / Anadolu Agency/GettyImages

Benjamin Pavard (RWB) - 6/10 - Not a natural wing-back and looked uncomfortable. Subbed, and looked annoyed.

Aurelien Tchouameni (CM) - 7/10 - Mature display, doing the dirty side by breaking up Spain's possession play. Brilliant tackle on Gavi in the box after the break.

Paul Pogba (CM) - 8/10 - Wonderful early pass into Benzema, but to no avail. Booked for treading on Busquet's foot. Kept France on the front foot after the break, dominating the midfield.

Theo Hernandez (LWB) - 7/10 - So industrious. Got through a ridiculous amount of work at both ends. Got an assist, could have scored.

Antoine Griezmann (AM) - 5/10 - Busy but unable to create cohesion between the midfield and attack in the first period. Quiet after the break.

7. Forwards

Kylian Mbappe
Mbappe got the crucial winner / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

Kylian Mbappe (ST) - 7/10 - Really underwhelming first half where he was far too loose with possession. Much more dangerous after the break, missing one good chance before producing a deadly finish under Simon. Looked offside, though.

Karim Benzema (ST) - 7/10 - Rounded the keeper early on but angle was too tight. Supreme finish to equalise immediately for Les Bleus. Beautiful arcing strike.

8. Substitutes

Dayot Upamecano (CB) - 6/10 - Replaced Varane. Beaten too easily by Oyarzabal for the opener but recovered to help his country to the win.

Leo Dubois (RWB) - 6/10 - One really impressive run.

Jordan Veretout (CM) - N/A