Sports Desk, Oct 10 (EFE).- France prevailed 2-1 over Spain in Sunday’s UEFA Nations League final, an outcome that rehabilitated the image of Les Bleus after their disappointing performance in Euro 2020, while La Roja put future opponents on notice.
Having bested Euro 2020 winners Italy in the semifinal, Spain fell just short against the reigning World Cup champions, whose victory was not without controversy, as Kylian Mbappe appeared to be offside when he put scored the go-ahead goal.
France started strong in the contest at the San Siro in Milan, but Spain withstood the initial onslaught and went on to have 64 percent of the ball against a talent-laden Bleus side.
Even so, La Roja couldn’t mount a serious threat in the first half. It was the 53rd minute before Spain could engineer an odd-man break and Pablo Sarabia sent a cross into the box a fraction too early for Ferran Torres to meet the ball at the far post.
Seconds later, Marcos Alonso intercepted a pass meant for Mbappe.
The cross-bar denied France’s Theo Hernandez in the 63rd minute on an opportunity created by Mbappe and Karim Benzema and Les Bleus failed to reset in time to stop Mikel Oyarzabal from giving Spain the lead in the 64th, beating Hugo Lloris with a precision strike.
La Roja’s joy lasted less than a minute, as Benzema raced down the pitch and got the better of Unai Simon with an effort from distance.
The contest shifted into a higher gear and Spain struggled to respond to France’s pace.
Mbappe flubbed a good chance in the 72nd minute, two minutes before Spain’s Pedri fired onto the roof of the net.
With the match in the final 10 minutes of regulation, Mbappe took a ball from Hernandez and sent a low blast into the net to put France ahead 2-1.
The Spanish players and coaches insisted Mbappe was offside, but a VAR review allowed the goal to stand.
Oyarzabal forced an impressive stop from Lloris in the 88th and the France goalkeeper was tested again by Yeremi Pino on a corner deep into stoppage time. EFE rmm/dr