France 2-1 Portugal: Three things learned


The host of the 2016 European Championships, France, defeated Portugal 2-1, Saturday evening, at Le Stade de France in Paris.

Although a friendly, Les Bleus, kept their lengthy winning streak over the Portuguese alive after a stellar performance in a meaningless friendly. Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema and Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba led the French connection to glory, and here are three things we learned.

Paul Pogba is the future

Paul Pogba is a future Ballon d’or winner, a very broad statement, but in reality if he keeps it up, he has every reason to win it. At the moment, comparing him with other players in his age group, he is miles ahead. While some youth are trying to break into their national teams and domestic clubs, the 21-year old is already there and contending with the top players in the game.

He does not play for Real Madrid or Barcelona, and that actually stands against him in his quest for the trophy for obvious reasons, but there is no reason that he can’t win it one day. Shining not just for club but for country, Pogba can easily become a legend in the game. He plays with so much experience you would think that he has been playing for years. He is not a Messi, and he is not a Ronaldo, simply because he is himself.

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  • One thing that stands out about him is the fact that he has so much self-belief and determination. He was practically snubbed by Manchester United and for anyone who has ever been told that they are not good enough or judged without even being able to show what you have, knows that success is the best revenge. For Paul Pogba, he certainly has the last laughs.

    He is easily one of the best midfielders in the world and slowly on his way to become one of the best players in the World. It’s too early for it to happen now but in a few years, if FIFA can get it right, expect to see Neymar, Paul Pogba and maybe Eden Hazard as on the shortlist for the Ballon D’or. No time soon, but give it three years or so.

    There are few players who can bust from the seams of being a typical footballer, and Paul Pogba is one them. He is fast, he is verstile, he can tackle, he can score goals. He is such a complete player at such a young age and that is truly what makes him different than the others. He is the future. 

    The French get better with time

    Just like fine wine, the French national team, get better with time. When they are on fire, they are literally on fire. They are electric and Didier Deschamps has done something with this team, that no other French coach has done in a long time.

    They are young, fresh and hungry. The whole team gives a good effort and after almost not qualifying for the World Cup, it’s as if the flood gates opened and they renewed themselves. They’ve became this team with so much potential and talent, despite the fact that they still have a lot to work on.

    Do not get me wrong, France are not Germany, and they certainly are not how Spain were in their prime. But they are simply themselves with a talented pool of players, young and old. What makes them unique is the fact that they are so electric – It may just be the ambiance at Le Stade de France but one thing that French fans should be sure of is that come 2016, this nation will certainly be top contenders for the Euro trophy. Not because they are hosting the tournament but because they are truly a talented, unified team that will only get better with time.

    Each national team has a different layout; with different weaknesses and different strengths. France’s strength is their youth. Franck Ribery retired from international football leaving many French fans worried but truly, they have nothing to worry about.

    Their future is so bright and they have a good leader on their hands with Didier Deschamps. After he cut Samir Nasri from the squad, it was truly a lesson that no naysayers will be involved with the team, and it worked. Because now, they are succeeding, slowly but they are succeeding.

    Portugal are not average, they are simply too weak

    One thing that is easily noticed when the Portuguese national team loses is that, everyone shifts from Cristiano Ronaldo, and blames the rest of the team as if they were completely and solely at fault for the loss. It is never Portugal as a whole are just a bad team or played poorly. It is always, “Oh, Ronaldo is just injured and the rest of the players are nothing but average, so they can not win.”

    Number one, they are not an average team. Number two, it starts with the leadership and number three, sometimes, traditions are meant to be broken. UEFA teams have this traditionalist mindset where they don’t like change. At times it works and it becomes very successful but with nations like Portugal, when there has been a reoccurring problem for years, something needs to change and it is not always the coach.

    Portugal are so weak, it feels frustrating. They give up too early and even when they create good chances, seven times out of ten, they can not complete the deed. It is not like they do not have the talent because they do, it is the fact that the team away from Ronaldo, is so dependent. This has nothing to do with any negativity towards Ronaldo, but to the fact that, he is part of the reason why is nation is not succeeding.

    Things need to change if they want to be successful. That’s it. Things have to change because something is not working. Maybe this is a little harsh but Portugal do not deserve to be ranked 11th in UEFA, it is as laughable as when they were ranked 4th going into the World Cup.