Portugal vs France: Preview and Prediction

Portugal and France will eye a place in the UEFA Euro 2024 semi-finals when they revive their rivalry on the biggest of stages.

Roberto Martinez will have wondered how the goals have dried up after Portugal, who face France this week, were one of the most prolific sides in qualifying. While their performances in the group stage were nowhere close to admirable, the Selecao struggled for relevance in their round-of-16 clash, as they had keeper Diogo Costa to thank for more than one reason.

Cristiano Ronaldo was reduced to tears following his penalty miss right before the break of the first extra time. Soon after, Benjamin Sesko was clean through on goal, and only a Costa save saved Portugal’s blushes. The keeper was then the hero of the penalty shootout, as he saved all three of his penalties to give the Selecao the passage to the quarter-finals.

With that result, Portugal has set a date with the formidable French side, and Martinez will hope for a better performance in the attack. He will also know that France won’t be as kind as Slovenia in not taking their chances, which could see the Spaniard tighten things at the back as he eyes a place in the semi-finals of Euro 2024.

Much like Portugal, France is also facing the issue of scoring goals and getting their attacking setup in order. Three goals from four games, including two own goals, do need to reflect better on the attacking talents Didier Deschamps has in his squad.

In fact, the only goal scored by a Frenchman was by Kylian Mbappe from the penalty spot, which tends to reflect the squad’s attacking deficiencies. Against Belgium, they managed to force a late own goal due to the good work done by substitute Randal Kolo Muani.

Those attacking issues aside, France have looked like a defensively committed team, with William Saliba putting in a masterclass against Belgium and Romelu Lukaku to earn the man of the match accolade. Deschamps will likely rely on his backline more than his attackers to get the team past the quarter-final against Belgium, although he would want the likes of Kylian Mbappe to be clinical in front of goal when the chances arrive.

Team News & Tactics


While Portugal have struggled to score goals, there is no dearth of chances, as Roberto Martinez will have no reason to change his lineup from the Slovenia clash just yet. In fact, he will continue to keep his faith in some misfiring attackers like Cristiano Ronaldo and Rafael Leao.

Even in midfield, he will rely on Joao Palhinha to hold base while allowing Vitinha to continue to foray forward into attacking spaces. At the back, he will keep faith in veteran Pepe and hope to have the experienced centre-back at his fittest alongside Ruben Dias.

Martinez does have fantastic options for each position in the squad and will hope there are no injuries or other problems in the game against Portugal. He will want a clinical performance from his attackers and certainly not want anyone to endanger themselves with a suspension should they manage to squeeze through to the semifinals.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Costa; Cancelo, Dias, Pepe, Mendes; Vitinha, Palhinha; B.Silva, Fernandes, Leao; Ronaldo


Adrien Rabiot will have to serve a suspension after his second booking in the knockout game against Belgium. The midfielder is key to Didier Deschamps’s plans, but the manager has too many good options to worry about his loss ahead of the Portugal clash.

In fact, if Deschamps wants, he could still retain a midfield three even without Rabiot. He certainly can, as France have Eduardo Camavinga sitting on the bench, while Youssouf Fofana is an outside option. However, should there be a three-man midfield, Camavinga makes more sense, although Deschamps might keep a partnership of Aurelien Tchouameni and N’Golo Kante should Ousmane Dembele come back into the team.

Antoine Griezmann will continue to be present during the attack and could return to his natural position behind the striker should Dembele return to the squad. Marcus Thuram might continue to lead the line, while Mbappe features in his left-sided position.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Kounde, Upamecano, Saliba, Hernandez; Kante, Tchouameni; Dembele, Griezmann, Mbappe; Thuram

Key Stats

  • Portugal are unbeaten in their last two European Championship games against France.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo is yet to score at Euro 2024, despite having more shots than any other player.
  • France are undefeated in their last nine matches against Portugal in all competitions.
  • A French player has yet to score an open-play goal at Euro 2024.

Player to Watch

William Saliba

Embed from Getty Images

Despite all the pre-tournament talk about how Saliba is not a natural starter for France, Didier Deschamps chose to place his faith in the Arsenal man, and so far, the decision has reaped its rewards. The centre-back put in a tremendous shift against Belgium to give his team the best possible platform to build upon.

With French attackers drawing blanks on the other end of the pitch, Deschamps will likely rely on his defence to allow the team to flourish. Saliba will face another stern test in the form of Cristiano Ronaldo & Co, and there’s total confidence the Arsenal man would come out on top.


Portugal 1-2 France

Even if Portugal are having trouble scoring goals, the presence of some formidable attackers in their squad will always give them a chance to score against top teams. They will trouble France and might even breach their otherwise astute defence.

France do have the upper hand with that defensive setup, as the likes of William Saliba and Dayot Upamecano will give them the base and give the attackers the platform to flourish. France have the better chance of ousting their rivals in this clash, and go through to the semi-finals.

Leave Comment


Welcome Back!

Login to your account below

Retrieve your password

Please enter your username or email address to reset your password.