Mbappé nets late as France win Nations League

October 11, 2021
France’s Kylian Mbappe (left) scores the winning goal past Spain’s goalkeeper Unai Simon  during the UEFA Nations League final at the San Siro stadium, in Milan, Italy, yesterday.
France’s Kylian Mbappe (left) scores the winning goal past Spain’s goalkeeper Unai Simon during the UEFA Nations League final at the San Siro stadium, in Milan, Italy, yesterday.

MILAN (AP):

Kylian Mbappe scored a late winner as World champions France came from behind to beat Spain 2-1 in the Nations League final yesterday.

Mbappe netted with 10 minutes remaining as France were again forced to fight back, just as they had done in the semi-finals against Belgium.

There were few chances in a cagey final in Milan but the match burst into life shortly after the hour mark.

Moments after France hit the woodwork, Mikel Oyarzabal fired Spain in front but the lead lasted less than two minutes before a magnificent finish from Karim Benzema.

European champions Italy beat Belgium 2-1 in the third-place match earlier yesterday.

Spain beat Italy 2-1 in their semi-final game with Ferran Torres netting both goals. There had been doubts about Torres' fitness but he recovered to start the final. Midfielder Adrien Rabiot was absent for France after testing positive for the coronavirus.

France started well and almost took an early lead as Benzema rounded Spain goalkeeper Unai Simon and attempted to roll across for Mbappe but the ball was cleared by Cesar Azpilicueta.

Spain went closer five minutes later as Torres threaded the ball through to Pablo Sarabia but his fairly tame shot was an easy catch for France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

Spain dominated possession but created few chances. They were the only team to have a shot on target in the first half though.

Theo Hernandez had scored the last-minute winner for France against Belgium in their semi-final last Thursday and he ignited yesterday's final when his effort crashed off the underside of the bar and out in France's first real sight of goal in the 63rd minute.

Moments later, however, it was Spain who broke the deadlock as Oyarzabal raced on to Sergio Busquets' ball over the top and fired into the bottom right corner.

But France were swiftly back on level terms as Benzema cut in from the left and curled a sumptuous effort into the top right corner.

And the stage was set for Mbappe to score the winner as he and France continue their revival. Mbappe was judged to have sprung the offside trap as he raced on to Theo Hernandez's through ball and placed it into the bottom right corner.

Lloris pulled off two great saves from point-blank range to deny first Oyarzabal and then Yeremi Pino as France survived a late siege by Spain.

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