12 November 2020 00:41
France geared up for their Nations League games with a 2-0 friendly home defeat to Finland as their 12-match unbeaten streak came to an abrupt end on Wednesday. Marcus Forss and Onni Valakari scored in the first half to give the Finns their first win against Les Bleus, having lost all their previous eight going into the game at the Stade de France. France dominated possession and had the first clear chance when Marcus Thuram's header crashed on to the crossbar but Didier Deschamps' side, without the injured Kylian Mbappé, lacked inspiration throughout. Liverpool blow as Joe Gomez suffers injury in England training session Read more France, whose last defeat was in June 2019, face Portugal away on Saturday and Sweden at home on Tuesday in the Nations League. Forss put the visiting side ahead against the run of play, beating the goalkeeper Steve Mandanda from close range with Finland's first attempt of the game in the 28th minute.
Deschamps replaced Olivier Giroud with Anthony Martial in the 57th minute and thedisappointing Paul Pogba with Ngolo Kanté, but the changes had little effect. Michy Batshuayi scored twice in the second half as Belgium came from behind to beat Switzerland 2-1, a confidence-boosting win before their Nations League match against England on Sunday. Batshuayi made it 13 goals in his past 13 internationals to maintain Belgium's four-year unbeaten run at home. Facebook Twitter Pinterest Michy Batshuayi celebrates scoring Belgium's equaliser against Switzerland. Photograph: Francisco Seco/AP Admir Mehmedi put Switzerland ahead early before Batshuayi equalised from a possible offside position early in the second half as both sides fielded makeshift lineups with an eye on the Nations League games.
The match was a first for Belgium at OH Leuven's Den Dreef stadium, where they host England and then Denmark next Wednesday. The match was moved from Brussels owing to a curfew imposed as part of the Covid-19 lockdown in Belgium. The Netherlands drew 1-1 at home to Spain after Donny van de Beek cancelled out an earlier goal from Sergio Canales. The Netherlands defender Nathan Aké, of Manchester City, was forced off early in the game with a muscle injury. Facebook Twitter Pinterest Donny van de Beek equalises for the Netherlands against Spain.
Photograph: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images Canales struck his first goal for Spain in the 19th minute, latching on to a pass from Álvaro Morata and firing low into the net. Van de Beek levelled early in the second half, beating Spain's debutant keeper Unai Simón at the near post. Luis Enrique's side had dominated the first half but the Netherlands controlled the second and missed two clear chances to win. Simón thwarted the captain Memphis Depay from close range with a low dive but the forward should have put the chance away, and Luuk de Jong spurned a late foray into the area, losing control of the ball and allowing Spain's defenders to get back. Frank Leboeuf explains how Kylian Mbappe's absence impacted France in their defeat against Finland. France geared up for their upcoming Nations League games with a 2-0 home defeat against Finland as their 12-match unbeaten streak came to an abrupt end on Wednesday. Marcus Forss and Onni Valakari scored in the first half to give Finland their first win against Les Bleus, having lost all their previous eight encounters going into the game at the Stade de France. World champions France dominated possession and had the first clear chance when Marcus Thuram's header crashed onto the crossbar, but Didier Deschamps' side, without the injured Kylian Mbappe, lacked inspiration throughout. Les Bleus, whose last defeat was in June 2019 when they lost 2-0 away to Turkey in a Euro 2020 qualifier, face Portugal away on Saturday and Sweden at home on Tuesday in League A, Group 3 of the Nations League. Forss put the visitors ahead against the run of play, beating keeper Steve Mandanda from close range with Finland's first attempt of the game in the 28th minute. Valakari doubled the tally three minutes later with a superb 20-metre curled shot. Deschamps replaced Olivier Giroud with Anthony Martial in the 57th minute and the hugely disappointing Paul Pogba with Ngolo Kante, but the changes had little effect. Finland have now won four of their last five matches. Frank de Boer is still waiting for his first win as coach of the Netherlands after a 1-1 friendly draw with Spain at Johan Cruijff Arena on Wednesday. The 50-year-old was named Ronald Koeman's replacement by the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) back in September but has now gone four matches without victory after the stalemate in Amsterdam--the worst start of any coach in their history. It was a far from ideal start for de Boer and the Dutch when Manchester City's Nathan Ake was forced off injured after just six minutes and replaced by Ajax's Daley Blind. It got worse when they fell behind 12 minutes later. Juventus' Alvaro Morata played in Real Betis' Sergio Canales, who found the back of the net with a finish across debutant Marco Bizot of AZ Alkmaar for his first goal at senior level for Spain. The injuries were not finished with Ake as Valencia's Jose Luis Gaya was the next to require a substitution with Tottenham Hotspur's Sergio Reguilon replacing him on the half hour. It remained 1-0 for the visitors until the break and de Boer took the opportunity to ring the changes with Inter Milan's Stefan de Vrij, Ajax's Davy Klaassen and AZ's Calvin Stengs among those sent on for the second 45. Just two minutes in and the hosts were level through Manchester United's Donny van de Beek after a ball from AZ's Owen Wijndal found its way through to the 23-year-old to finish for his second international goal after opening his senior account against Italy last month. Olympique Lyonnais' Memphis Depay was denied by Athletic Club's Unai Simon in the Spanish goal as the Dutch sought a winner and the 26-year-old soon made way for Ryan Babel of Galatasaray. Spain made a late flurry of changes with City's Ferran Torres, RB Leipzig's Dani Olmo and Wolverhampton Wanderers' Adama Traore all introduced as Atletico Madrid's Marco Llorente came on for his debut--Luis Enrique's 19th as coach. However, there were no further goals and it finished 1-1 with the Netherlands heading into crucial UEFA Nations League fixtures against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Poland without a win under de Boer. Spain face Switzerland and Germany but hold a one-point lead in their group--although they lost to Ukraine last time out.