France beat Spain 2-1 to win first Nations League trophy thanks to Mbappe and Benzema

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France faced Spain in the UEFA Nations League final on Sunday, October 10, 2021. As expected, it was Kylian Mbappe and Kerim Benzema that made the difference.

The meeting of the two European football giants took place at San Siro in Italy. The game started conservatively until France defender, Raphael Varane was forced out of the game in the 43rd minute due to a thigh injury.

The second off was more explosive from both ends but it was Spain that first got the better of France in the 64th minute, thanks to Mikel Oyarzabal’s strike.

Unlike in the semi-final stage of the tournament when France waited for over 30 minutes before they could come back from 2 goals down to beat Belgium, France waited for just two minutes before they started fighting back.

Real Madrid striker and 2021 Ballon d’Or nominee, Karim Benzema scored a stunning goal in the 66th minute to bring his country back to the game.

The 1-1 draw dragged on until in the 80th minute when Kylian Mbappe stepped up to score a controversial goal. After Spain protested that the goal should not count, the Video Assistant Referee confirmed that it was a goal.

Hence, the goal helped France to beat Spain 2-1. It also helped the French side to win the UEFA Nations League for the first time in the history of the tournament.

France is the second country to win the Nations League which started in the 2018-2019 season. The first country to win the tournament is Portugal in 2019. The 2019-2020 edition of the tournament did not hold because of the coronavirus pandemic that disrupted the football calendar across the world.

France beat Spain 2-1 to win first Nations League trophy thanks to Mbappe and Benzema
France’s players celebrate after winning the Nations League.

After the 2-1 defeat at the hands of France on Sunday, Spain head coach, Luis Enrique insisted that his team competed well and his team played with bravery.

He said: “Irrespective of who we play against, or in what situation, we always try to play our way – with bravery, attacking with ambition. So tonight it’s not so much about the pain of defeat, it’s also about a tinge of sadness because we competed very well.”

Bezema celebrates with Mbappe during the UEFA Nations League final against Spain on Sunday, October 10, 2021.
Bezema celebrates with Mbappe during the UEFA Nations League final against Spain on Sunday, October 10, 2021.

On the other hand, the head coach of France’s national team, Didier Deschamps compared the semi-final game against Belgium and the final game against Spain, noting that his team equalized quicker in the final than in the semis.

He went on to note that he was very proud of the character and mental strength that his players showed in the final against Spain.

He said: “I’m very proud and very happy for the players. We went behind in both of the matches. Today we equalized quickly after going behind.

“Beyond the talent that we have in this team, there’s also their character and mentality, and I’m very proud of the players. We stopped playing after 20 minutes and you can’t do that against Spain. Our system, and the way we operate in it, still needs improvement. In the second half, we were more aggressive and forced them into mistakes.”