Half-time Spain 0 France 0
Two well-organised sides cancelling each other out so far largely because of a lack of space and precision in the pass. Both look vulnerable down the flanks. Neither has succeeded in exploiting defensive vulnerabilities out wide.
45+1 min Spain 0 France 0
Scratch that Varane has a bandage on his thigh. A hamstring, then. Busquets slides the ball down the right but Benzema gets back to stop Torres crossing. One more minute to go of stoppage time.
45 min Spain 0 France 0
Some quality play in isolated moments but it hasn’t been a very good contest so far.
44 min Spain 0 France 0
It’s his calf judging by the muscle he’s rubbing as he slumps on the bench.
42 min Spain 0 France 0
Varane can’t continue. He’s twanged a calf or hamstring on his right leg. Could mean Phil Jones returns to the Man Utd bench on Saturday if Harry Maguire is still out …
Upamecano replaces Varane.
40 min Spain 0 France 0
Gavi catches France by surprise with a darting run and Varane has to stretch to knock his cross behind before it can reach Oyarzabal. He seems to have injured himself. Indeed he eventually goes down after Sarabia sends the corner straight down Lloris’s throat.
38 min Spain 0 France 0
Pogba spots the run of Griezmann down the left of the box and chips it 40 yards to try to put it into his stride to shoot but his range is off and it skips into touch for a goalkick.
36 min Spain 0 France 0
Marcos Alonso signals as if he’s going to bend an inswinger from the right to the far post from the free-kick but instead shoots, trying to gull Lloris and sneak it in at the near post but he Lloris didn’t buy it and Alonso hooped it into the advertising hoardings in any case.
34 min Spain 0 France 0
Spain dominating possession, as they always do, by two-thirds to a third. And as French exasperation mounts, Tchouameni slides in to hack down Torres. Could have been a yellow but Anthony Taylor is keeping them in his pocket tonight.
32 min Spain 0 France 0
Alonso chips a long diagonal over to the right. There is Spanish hay to be made between the wing-backs and the wider of the three centre-backs. Not then, though.
30 min Spain 0 France 0
Nowt comes of the corner. France break up the right and Spain bomb back in numbers to throttle France’s counter. A moment before Sarabia wanted a penalty for a cross that hit Kounde on the left elbow as he jumped to block. His arm was behind him as he leapt. VAR did check, Stuart Attwell of all folk, but decided no further action was required.
27 min Spain 0 France 0
Torres floods into the space between Kimpembe and Hernandez, exploiting a misunderstanding and some after you, Claud;’ play in the left-back position, earning a corner when they finally wake up.
24 min Spain 0 France 0
Hernandez slips a pass down the left touchline to Benzema who bullocks down the wing then cuts towards the box. He plays a one-two with Griezmann and shoots with his right, trying to bend it into the bottom right corner but it is blocked befroe it’s travelled two yards and Oyarzabal picks it up and tries to trigger a counter. Varane, wise to how vulnerable his side would be to a rapid break, barrels him over instead. Free-kick.
22 min Spain 0 France 0
Rodri runs across Tchouameni in full flight and sends him tumbling at the cost of a free-kick 40 yards out. Pogba tries to chip it to Benzema to the left of the D but it’s intercepted. And Spain come back up the right.
20 min Spain 0 France 0
He’s OK but there’s another halt only a few moments later when Gavi, who is brilliant but far too ‘handsy’, shoves Hernandez over.
18 min Spain 0 France 0
Mbappe wasn’t awarded a free-kick but requires treatment nonetheless.
16 min Spain 0 France 0
Spain have grabbed the initiative back through Busquets bossing Griezmann and cutting off the out-ball to the attacking midfielder. Gavi twists and turns by the 18-yard line to try to plot a path through the box but Varane gets a toe in and France pass it up the right for Mbappe who hits the deck when Garcia beats him to the ball.
14 min Spain 0 France 0
Spain throw-in on the left and they work it across field and back again until Torres can dribble down the whitewash with a give and go but his cross, again, is scuffed and Varane boots it clear.
12 min Spain 0 France 0
Now it’s Sarabia’s turn to get in behind a defensive line, sneaking through the inside-right lane to meet Torres’s pass but he scuffs his shot too close to Lloris who tumbles forward to smother it.
10 min Spain 0 France 0
The first initiative from the corner is dealt with but Griezmann then hooks it back into the box from the right with his left and Simon flaps at the high ball as it loops over him and just beyond the far post.
8 min Spain 0 France 0
Quick inter-passing shifts the ball from Pogba to Benzema to Mbappe and from left to right. Spain are chasing shadows but Pavard’s cross comes at hip-height and Spain scramble it behind.
6 min Spain 0 France 0
Alonso and Sarabia try to make inroads up the left but they are shut down by Pavard who shifts it quickly up to Pogba. The Manchester United midfielder slides the perfect pass down the inside-right channel and Benzema is clean through on the keeper but he takes an extraneous touch to try to round Simon instead of shooting early and ends up going too wide around the keeper and cutting it back to Mbappe. Laporte gets back to intercept before it reaches Mbappe.
4 min Spain 0 France 0
France pass it around the three centre-backs after Pogba, with new natty, short, dreads is clipped. No one has found his mid or long passing range yet.
3 min Spain 0 France 0
Azpilicueta and Torres hustle the ball back from Benzema on halfway on the right and work it across field until Gavi slides in late, having lost the ball, and topples Tchouameni. Should have been a yellow but he gets away with it.
1 min Spain 0 France 0
The return of the remote controlled car carrying the nmatchball to the centre-spits, precedes Spain kicking off and launching it up the right. Theo Hernandez, the match-winner in the semi-final, lets it skip out for a France throw-in.
From Spain’s fans. Barcelona’s Gavi looks about nine rather than 17. Plays like a 25-year-old, mind.
The teams come out
Spain in their home kit, France in all white. Martin Tyler and Lee Hendrie are doing the commentary down the line from Isleworth.
Time for the national anthems.
Sky has gone late
Beginning coverage only 15 minutes before kick-off after an interminable loop of last night’s goals. Eilidh Barbour and Jamie Redknapp in the studio.
In case you were wondering …
Why Monaco’s Aurelien Tchouaemeni was preferred as a replacement for Adrien Rabiot to Jordan Veretout, who is thriving in Rome, here’s why:
And France as they would have you see them
Your starting XIs
Ferran Torres is fit and starts for Spain
And welcome to the second Nations League final, a match between Spain and the world champions France at San Siro to determine which of them will succeed Portugal, winners in 2019 after their 1-0 victory over Holland in the final, as … what exactly? Not kings of the world … or Europe … but … Lords of the European Nations?
First some team news – France’s midfielder Adrien Rabiot is out after testing positive for Covid-19 after the comeback, last-gasp semi-final victory over Belgium, Lucas Digne has returned to Everton with a hamstring injury but Antoine Griezmann is fit and firing to win his 100th cap, joining his manager, Didier Deschamps, Patrick Vieira, Olivier Giroud, Marcel Desailly, Hugo Lloris, Thierry Henry, Zinedine Zidane and Lilian Thuram as Bleu Centurions.
They may be world champs but fighting back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 was just the tonic after a bad year, restoring some of France’s vim and self-belief, says their captain, Lloris.
“Mentally speaking, we were quite down lately and we needed a key game to get back on track,” he said. “And against Belgium everything was there to find the confidence back. It was the case in the second half and I hope it will help us to start the game tomorrow with the best intentions. And I really hope we will see a great face of France. It will be tough … it will be on us to do everything we can on the pitch.”
France’s win came the day after Spain clinched a modicum of revenge for their defeat in the Euro 2020 semi-final by beating the champions of Europe, Italy, 2-1. “For many of us, it’s the first time we play a final with the national team. So it would be fantastic to lift our first trophy,” Ferran Torres, who scored La Roja’s two goals, said. “We are a very young team and tomorrow we will do our all to be able to reach that trophy.
And Torres’ chances of playing after hobbling away from the semi-final? “I’m an optimistic guy and I honestly think I have a chance to play against France,” Torres said. “I didn’t train today, I will tomorrow. We will all assess it and then we’ll see.”
Torres’ City and Spain team-mate Aymeric Laporte will definitely start and he has a point to prove after winning more than 50 caps for France at U-17, U-18, U-19 and U-21 level but being consistently over looked by Deschamps for the senior side despite being named in three full squads.
“It will be a very special meeting for me but, as I have always said, I am very focused. I am 100 per cent or even 300 per cent with Spain,” Laporte said
“I’ll give it my all. I will face former team mates [from France’s youth teams] but the only thing I think about is winning this final, that’s the most important thing for me right now.”