Spain lose to France in the controversial Nations League Final

by Lorraine Williamson
Nations League Final Stadium - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:San_Siro_(2018).jpg

FOOTBALL – A controversial late goal from Kylian Mbappe saw France come from behind and finish 2-1 over Spain to win the Nations League Final. The previous and first title of the competition was won in 2019 by Italy.

Spain kicked off the game against France at the San Siro Stadium for the Nations League Final.

Slow start to the game

Spain was slow to warm up, and France appeared to be more on the ball (so to speak) during the opening 10 minutes. The first corner came for France after 8 minutes but didn´t produce anything.

However Torres seems to have woken up the Spanish side, and there has been more activity in that half of the pitch. The game settles down, with both teams evenly matched, but producing nothing exciting so far.

30 minutes into the game and Spain has almost all the play. Then just a couple of minutes before halftime, Spain´s Varane lands badly and cannot continue.

64% possession

In an uneventful first half, Spain had 64% possession which contained three non-productive attempts on goal.

The best chance was in the 6th minute when Benzema faced Simon before looking to square the ball across goal, but Cesar Azpilicueta was there and cleared it away from the danger zone.

The first half ended as it started, 0-0 with not a lot of action in between.

End to end excitement

The second half showed more promise, but 15 minutes in, and there was still no result for either side. However, the match changed from non-eventful to end-to-end excitement from the 63rd minute onwards. Hernandez struck the woodwork from close range just before Spain launched their attack down the other end.

nederlandse orthopeed

Two goals within two minutes

Then it comes in the 64th minute. A beautiful goal for Spain! Busquets played a great pass to leave Oyarzabal in behind. His first touch shakes off Upamecano, then his second sends the ball skidding across Lloris and into the back of the net. But then, just two minutes later, Benzema strikes an amazing curveball into the top corner. France was then fired up. It was 1-1 and with around 25 minutes left to play. The game was anyone’s. As such, we saw many attempts on goal over the next 15 minutes or so.

Offside?

Until controversy in the 80th minute. Hernandez pushed forward and looked for a space for Mbappe who ran on. Mbappe stepped to the right committing Simon to move position, before scoring with his left. This was drastic for Spain.

Mbappe looked to be clearly offside, however, the referee checked with VAR to verify the goal. It was reviewed and allowed to stand.

Spain defender Eric Garcia had touched the ball in an attempt to clear the ball before it reached Mbappe. The rules clearly state “a player in an offside position receiving the ball from an opponent who deliberately plays the ball… is not considered to have gained an advantage”. The decision from VAR stood.

Final chances

Spain now only had 10 minutes to pull something out the bag to stand any chance of extra time or penalties. Oyarzabal almost found an equaliser two minutes from time, but his volley was outed by Lloris.

Five minutes were added. And in the final seconds of injury-time, Lloris saved a potential last-minute equaliser.

Controversial win

France won the title 2-1. However, the controversial late goal from Kylian Mbappe will continue to dominate football conversation for some time.

Third place in the competition went to Italy when they won 2-1 against Belgium earlier in the day.

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