France, Spain to battle it out for Nations League title

Spain hoping to overcome the World Cup winners after dispatching European champions Italy in the semis.

The world champions reached the decider of the tournament with a thrilling comeback win over Belgium midweek. [Alberto Lingria/Reuters]

France will take on Spain in the final of the Nations League at San Siro in Milan, Italy on Sunday.

The world champions reached the decider of the tournament with a thrilling comeback win over Belgium midweek.

Les Bleus came back from two goals down to beat the Red Devils 3-2, with AC Milan left-back Theo Hernandez smashing a last-minute winner.

France possess an impressive front three – Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema and Antoine Griezmann, who is hoping to win his 100th cap. If he takes to the field, Griezmann will become the ninth Frenchman to win a centenary cap.

However, the world champions will be without Adrien Rabiot, after the Juventus midfielder tested positive for COVID-19.

“Obviously it is bad news for us, and in a health situation that is getting better day by day, it reminds us that the concern is still there,” Didier Deschamps, France coach, said.

“Is the group upset? It is certainly not a pleasant situation, but the group has been somehow reassured because we all did rapid tests when we arrived in Milan, and everybody tested negative.”

Meanwhile, Spain arrives at the final after despatching European champions Italy.

La Roja brought to an end Italy’s world-record 37-game unbeaten run, beating them 2-1 at the San Siro.

Spain lost to Italy on penalties at the semifinal stage of the delayed Euro 2020.

Spain appear to be smoothing out the wrinkles after going through a transition period under coach Luis Enrique.

Enrique presented a rejuvenated squad since Euro 2020, with many new young players including 17-year-old Gavi.

The Spanish coach said France were “the best team in the world, looking at individuals” but seemed confident after watching his team beat Italy on Wednesday.

“Football is a great sport in which the team that plays best wins, and I hope that’s the case for us tomorrow,” he told reporters.

Italy and Belgium, the two losing semi-finalists, will lock horns in the third-place playoff earlier on Sunday.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies