Mbappe, Ronaldo poised for action but Morata and Spain stutter in Euros opener

Mbappe, Ronaldo Mbappe's France will face Germany, whiles Ronaldo's Portugal come up against Hungary

Tue, 15 Jun 2021 Source: betway.com.gh

Luis Enrique has defended Alvaro Morata following the Spain striker's two costly misses in Monday night's goalless Euro 2020 draw with Sweden.

Spain boss Enrique insisted on-loan Juventus hitman Morata had a "great game" despite spurning two gilt-edged chances in Seville.

Marcus Berg missed a major opening for Sweden too, but Spain dominated throughout, attempting 954 passes to the Swedes' 174.

Enrique would not be drawn on Sweden's containment tactics, before insisting Spain have no need to worry about their chances of progressing from Group E.

World Cup 2018 winners France take on 2014 champions Germany in Munich as two of Europe's footballing powerhouses go head to head in Group F; reigning European champions Portugal take on Hungary on final day of Matchday 1.

Beaten 2016 finalists France, the favourites to go one better this time around, take on a Germany side still looking for direction after a dire World Cup, with Joachim Low ending his long spell as manager at the end of this tournament.

It would take a brave soul to write off the Germans, who in spite of their more recent troubles reached the final in 2008 and the semi-finals of both tournaments since, losing to France at Euro 2016. But today’s opponents, the current World Cup holders, present a nightmare opener for Low's side on paper.

The pair faced one another twice in the inaugural Nations League tournament in 2018/19, with Germany earning a 0-0 draw on home soil, where they will face them today at the Allianz Arena.

This will be the first time the two sides have ever met in the group stages of a major finals, with France clear favourites going into the match - a tag Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer does not buy into.

“It is very important to start with a successful result," Neuer said. "We know we owe the fans something after the last tournament. We hope to excite them with the way we will play and we need their support.

"We know France have been successful in the past years. But we are still a very good team, uncomfortable to play against. We have respect for them but we don't see ourselves as the underdogs. We want to win the game here in Munich."

There is some poetry in Portugal's first match coming against Hungary after their dramatic 3-3 draw in the group stages of the last tournament, as Balazs Dzsudzsak's double in that game - added to Zoltan Gera's opener - briefly looked set to knock them out of the competition, only for Cristiano Ronaldo's strike to earn a draw which would ultimately set them on their way to win the entire tournament.

Fernando Santos, who led Portugal to the title five years ago, believes his side can hold onto the trophy, as Spain did in 2012, with their mindset as important as their personnel, which includes Premier League Player of the Year Ruben Dias.

He told his press conference: "Portugal arrive to this competition the same way we did in 2016, with the same confidence and belief to achieve something important like in 2016, where we managed to do it, and now we are with the same confidence. Like in the past, we have what it takes to win again."

Team news

Hungary vs Portugal: Santos is without Joao Cancelo after the Manchester City defender tested positive for coronavirus in the build-up to the tournament, but has Diogo Dalot, fresh from Portugal U21s' run to their own European Championship final, as a replacement. Midfielder Zsolt Kalmar will be missing for the hosts.

France vs Germany: Leon Goretzka could yet feature for Germany, having trained several times with his team-mates after recovering from injury ahead of their Group F opener. Fellow midfielder Jonas Hofmann is likely to miss out though, while France should have Karim Benzema available after the 33-year-old shook off a knock picked up in their warm-up clash with Bulgaria last week.

Euro 2021 update is by courtesy of BetWay. Bet responsibly. Not open to persons under 18 years.

Source: betway.com.gh