France eclipse holders Portugal to reach Nations League final four
LISBON: France handed defending Nations League champions Portugal a rare defeat on Saturday, winning 1-0 in Lisbon with N'Golo Kante's second-half strike to reach the competition's final four at the expense of the holders. Anthony Martial missed three clear-cut first half chances for France before Kante scored only his second international goal in the 54th minute, and his first since 2016, to end Portugal's run of five successive clean sheets. World champions France went top of Group A3 with 13 points from five games, three ahead of Portugal and with the better head-to-head record to give them an unassailable lead. It was only Portugal's second defeat since the 2018 World Cup. "Given the quality of the opposition, it’s of course one of our best performances of recent times," France coach Didier Deschamps said of Portugal, who are the European champions. "We deserved the win and we’ve fulfilled our objective of finishing top. I’m very proud of the players. They proved tonight that France are still a great team." Antoine Griezmann set up Martial's first chance in the 12th minute with a slide-rule pass but Portugal's excellent goalkeeper Rui Patricio blocked it at point-blank range. - Reuters