Robin Bairner’s Portugal v France preview: misfiring Karim Benzema needs to perform
Our Matchday Squad journalist will be covering France throughout Euro 2020
France still have work to do to assure themselves a place in the last 16. While four points from their opening two matches would have been seen as a more than satisfactory outcome at the beginning of the tournament, it would not have been predicted that they would win against Germany only to be held by Hungary.
Nevertheless, they failed to take their chances in Budapest, except for one opportunist Antoine Griezmann finish that gave them a share of the points.
The returning Karim Benzema finds his place under question. Four matches into his return to the international scene, he has failed to score a goal, missing a penalty against Wales and squandering a golden chance to open the scoring against Hungary. Nevertheless, he will likely retain Didier Deschamps’ confidence for this encounter.
France’s squad is now without Ousmane Dembele after the Barcelona attacker was ruled out of the tournament after picking up an injury in the game against Hungary. Lucas Hernandez, meanwhile, will probably return at left-back after not being risked due to a minor ankle complaint.
By the time Les Bleus start this match, exactly what they need to qualify will be clearer – even if that is as a third-place team – and while that is likely to impact their approach to the closing stages, from the start they will be out to eliminate the side that beat them after extra-time in the Euro 2016 final in Paris.