After beating the reigning European champions, Spain were unable to overcome reigning world champions France in the Nations League final.
Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe inspired France to come from behind once again and defeat Spain 2-1 in Sunday’s 2021 Nations League final.
France were ahead having trailed to a goal by Mikel Oyarzabal which was wiped out by a stunning equaliser from Karim Benzema. And they clung on for victory, with two exceptional saves by Hugo Lloris in the closing stages.
Within six minutes of the start of this game, Benzema had skipped clear and around goalkeeper Simon but his touch forced him wide and he could not fashion a shot from a tight angle. Instead, he looked to cross. Cesar Azpilicueta, one of five Premier League players starting for Spain, was back to clear.
Ferran Torres, who scored both goals in the semi-final against Italy, was ruled fit to start despite an ankle problem, and positioned himself wide on the right, where his movement and change of pace forced wing-back Theo Hernandez, France’s match-winner against the Belgians, to focus on defensive duties.
Mbappe was a hero once again as he dashed clear in a flurry of stepovers to score the winning goal in the 80th minute against Spain and France added the UEFA Nations League to the World Cup trophy they won three years ago.
Spain thought it was offside, they surrounded referee Antony Taylor and goalkeeper Unai Simon lined up the ball to take a free-kick, but the VAR ruled yes to the goal.
Italy, despite not being able to make it back-to-back triumphs after Euro 2020, claimed third place in the Nations League on Sunday.
Nicolo Barella and Domenico Berardi struck in the second half as Italy defeated Belgium 2-1 to claim third place at the 2021 Nations League Finals on Sunday.