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Euro 2020: Portugal vs France combined XI

The Group of Death reaches its climax tonight, and what a finish we have in store with the reigning world champions up against the reigning European champions.

France currently lead the way in Group F on four points after seeing off Germany and being held to a shock draw by Hungary last weekend. Joachim Low’s side face the basement boys in their final group tie and occupy second place ahead of Portugal.

Germany and Portugal are both on three points but the former has the advantage due to the head-to-head record following their 4-2 win over their rivals on Saturday.

Both France and Portugal are blessed with a huge pool of talent and here, Sportsmail chooses a combined XI from their star-studded squads.

GOALKEEPER – HUGO LLORIS

The Tottenham goalkeeper edges out his Portuguese counterpart after conceding just one goal in two games.

Rui Patricio, who has been linked with a move away from Wolves to Roma this summer, found himself picking the ball out of the net four times against a lethal Germany side. 

Although he was not solely to blame for any of the four goals he did get caught in two minds for Germany’s second when he didn’t know whether to come or go when the ball was played over the top to Kai Havertz.

The 33-year-old is a safe pair of hands but Lloris captained his side to glory in Russia three years ago, leads from the front and has the ability to produce an unbelievable save.

He also played an integral part in his side’s equaliser at the weekend as his quick thinking launched France on the attack. The Spurs shot-stopped played an exceptional long ball to Kylian Mbappe to take advantage of an out of position Hungary backline.

Hugo Lloris captained France to glory at the World Cup three years ago and plays crucial role

RIGHT BACK – BENJAMIN PAVARD

The Bayern Munich gets the nod over Nelson Semedo but it was tight. Neither have particularly stood out over the past 10 days. 

The first three German goals came from the left hand side with Semedo unable to prevent the inviting deliveries into his own box. 

Similarly Pavard found himself beaten by Hungary goalscorer Attila Fiola. The full back played a neat one-two around the passive Frenchman and passed the ball past Lloris. 

However Pavard was part of an unbreachable back four that shut out Germany, who then went on to smash four past Semedo’s Portugal. 

Benjamin Pavard  was part of an unbreachable back four that shut out Germany in first match

Benjamin Pavard  was part of an unbreachable back four that shut out Germany in first match

CENTRE BACK – RAPHAEL VARANE

The Real Madrid centre back oozes class and he was a commanding force in the France backline against Germany in their Group F opener. 

The defender may well be following Sergio Ramos out of the Bernabeu exit door this summer but there was no sign of any kind of distraction as he helped keep out Kai Havertz, Thomas Muller and Serge Gnabry.

Varane had a disrupted end to the season due to injury and illness but has shown his professionalism and quality in the heart of the France defence.

He has formed a formidable defensive partnership with Paris Saint-Germain’s Presnel Kimpembe, which does not give away many chances.

Raphael Varane oozes class and he is a commanding force in the France backline

Raphael Varane oozes class and he is a commanding force in the France backline

CENTRE BACK – RUBEN DIAS

The Manchester City centre half is colossal at the back and it’s no secret just how much he transformed Pep Guardiola’s outfit last season.

He is yet to demonstrate that same influence on the Portugal team this summer but his ability to read the game and stop attacks is crucial.

The £64million man was unable to stop Germany from running riot and actually diverted the ball past Patricio to give them the lead but without him there would be a gaping hole.

If Portugal are to go far in this tournament he will play a big part. France’s Kimpembe is unlucky to miss out.

Ruben Dias is colossal at the back and helped Portugal keep a clean sheet in opening match

Ruben Dias is colossal at the back and helped Portugal keep a clean sheet in opening match

LEFT BACK – RAPHAEL GUERREIRO 

The Borissia Dortmund full back enjoyed a fine season in Germany last season, scoring six goals and providing 11 assists in 40 matches.

The 27-year-old gives the Portugal side another attacking dimension down the left flank and that proved effective against Hungary. 

The left back drifted inside to get onto the end of Rafa Silva’s low cross. Yes, his effort benefitted from a kind deflection but Guerreiro did what he had to do by finding the target and finally break down a resolute Hungary side.

Like Dias, days later he turned the ball into his own net to prevent Gnabry or Kai Havertz the easy task of tapping home from close range. 

Didier Deschamps has rotated between Bayern’s Lucas Hernandez and Everton’s Lucas Digne on the left side of defence in the first two group games. 

Left back Raphael Guerreiro scored Portgual's first goal of Euro 2020 in 3-0 win over Hungary

Left back Raphael Guerreiro scored Portgual’s first goal of Euro 2020 in 3-0 win over Hungary

RIGHT MIDFIELD – PAUL POGBA 

The Manchester United midfielder has a different licence in the French team and he showed his class in their 1-0 victory over Germany in their opening match.

He played an exquisite pass out to Lucas Hernadez, whose cross was diverted into his own net by Mats Hummels, for the deciding goal.

The balance of Didier Deschamps’ squad suits Pogba and gives him freedom to strut his stuff. Of course, having the sensational N’Golo Kante alongside him makes a huge difference.

Pogba edges out Manchester City wideman Bernardo Silva, who has had a quiet start to the tournament. 

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has a different licence in the French team

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has a different licence in the French team

CENTRE MIDFIELD – N’GOLO KANTE

Which starting XI wouldn’t the Chelsea midfielder get into? Every manager would want Kante in the heart of their midfield.

Despite the jam-packed schedule and winning the Champions League less than a month ago he remains as tireless, industrious and dogged as ever.

His ability to sense and cut out danger is second to none and the work he does gives the free-flowing attackers ahead of him the platform to express themselves.

Kante beats United and Portuguese midfield maestro Bruno Fernandes to the central midfield role as he’s failed to take his club form into Euro 2020.

The talented 26-year-old has struggled to make an impact in the first two games and pundit Graeme Souness questioned his attitude following Portugal’s defeat by Germany. 

France's indomitable midfielder N'Golo Kante is pivotal to Didier Deschamps' world champions

France’s indomitable midfielder N’Golo Kante is pivotal to Didier Deschamps’ world champions

LEFT MIDFIELD – DIOGO JOTA

The Liverpool forward has looked bright and refreshed after little football towards the end of the domestic campaign.

The 24-year-old forms a lethal four-pronged Portugal attack on the left flank behind Cristiano Ronaldo and alongside Fernandes and Silva.

He timed his run to perfection to set up Ronaldo’s opener against Germany but if anything it was his composure and touch that stood out.

His chest control was faultless and his awareness to square the ball to his team-mate rather than go for goal himself was sublime.

France’s left midfielder Adrien Rabiot impressed against Germany but Jota has had greater impact in the final third – also scoring in the 4-2 Germany defeat. 

Liverpool forward Diogo Jota has looked bright and refreshed for Portugal this summer

Liverpool forward Diogo Jota has looked bright and refreshed for Portugal this summer

RIGHT FORWARD – ANTOINE GRIEZMANN

The Barcelona forward has made a strong impression in the opening group games. After a solid display in France’s comfortable victory over Germany, Griezmann scored the all-important leveller against Hungary.

Griezmann is a player Deschamps trusts and the 30-year-old has the knack of being in the right place at the right time.

With France in desperate need of a goal on Saturday Griezmann arrived into the box for Mbappe’s cutback at the perfect moment to fire the ball home.

Griezmann won the Euro 2016 Golden Boot and was second behind England’s Harry Kane at the World Cup in Russia. Like Pogba, he plays with the shackles off for his country.

Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann has made a strong impression in opening group games

Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann has made a strong impression in opening group games

CENTRE FORWARD – CRISTIANO RONALDO

The first name of the team sheet. There were questions over whether the 36-year-old could still be Portugal’s go-to guy this summer but in two games he has proven that he’s still very much their talisman.

In fact within the first 87 minutes of his Euro 2020 campaign he demonstrated he cannot be written off just yet, scoring from the penalty spot to break Michel Platini’s Euros record to become the top scorer of all-time on 10. Moments later he rounded the goalkeeper to notch his 11th.

The Juventus star then opened the scoring against Germany in emphatic fashion. He started and finished the move, clocking a staggering top speed of 19mph, running from his own box to the opposite one in 14.2 seconds to support Diogo Jota and tap the ball into an empty net. He then set up Jota for his country’s second.

France’s No 9 Karim Benzema has had a rather subdued start on his return to the international fold. 

Portugal talisman Cristiano Ronaldo has scored three goals in two games and made history

Portugal talisman Cristiano Ronaldo has scored three goals in two games and made history

LEFT FORWARD – KYLIAN MBAPPE  

Yet to get off the mark but looked razor sharp and hugely threatening in France’s 1-0 win over Germany.

The Paris Saint-Germain striker did have the ball in the net with a beautiful curling effort but it was ruled out for offside. He also provided the assist for Benzema’s goal that was chalked off.

A few days later and Mbappe helped France get back into the Hungary contest, providing the assist for Griezmann to smash home the equaliser.

It’s unusual for him by his own standards not to have notched at least one goal but his quality and influence on Les Bleus is frightening and it won’t be long before he’ll be on the scoresheet.

France forward Kylian Mbappe is yet to get off the mark but he has been as threatening as ever

France forward Kylian Mbappe is yet to get off the mark but he has been as threatening as ever

Sportsmail's combined Portugal and France starting XI, using 4-3-3 formation, ahead of clash

Sportsmail’s combined Portugal and France starting XI, using 4-3-3 formation, ahead of clash

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