Explosion of joy, Deschamps the hero, the ghost of Mbappe-Griezmann.. Favorites and scratches

Explosion of joy, Deschamps the hero, the ghost of Mbappe-Griezmann.. Favorites and scratches

Find out what made our special correspondents happy after France's win over Portugal (0-0, 5-3) on Friday evening in Hamburg.

Special Envoys to Hamburg

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Salvation, the French camp explodes

When Theo Hernandez scored the last shot on target on Friday night, synonymous with qualification to the semi-finals of the European Championship (0-0, 5-3 tab), the entire French bench was in jubilation. On the edge of the pitch, Didier Deschamps hugged his assistants tightly, while all the players left to join Mike Maignan and the final shooter. For company that makes your hair stand on end and rare moments that should not be underestimated. In the process, this small group travelled to the stadium to celebrate qualification with the 8,000 French fans present in Dortmund accompanied by the famous party song freed from desire. Delicious sequence. And the start of a hot evening in Hamburg for the French fans.

The wonderful minyan of Saliba

Even if the French team did not score, they also owe their qualification to their famous defensive saves. To avoid writing the same things from one match to the next, let us salute the individual performances of Mike Maignan and William Saliba. The Blues' goalkeeper, twice, most notably in the second half against Fernandes and Vitinha, saved his team with great saves. Add to that the unfailing calm and serenity he transmits to his partners, and you have the most wonderful Euro so far from the goalkeeper of choice. What can we say about his centre-back? After swallowing Lukaku on Monday, he did the same again against Ronaldo. An authoritarian game, perfect positioning, solidity in the duels, precious recovery quality… A really tough match.

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Didier Deschamps and Kylian Mbappe
Annegret Hills/Reuters

Deschamps, this hero

Some will say they are bored watching the Blues play – and they would be right – but that should not diminish the situation. What Didier Deschamps has achieved at the top of the list is simply astonishing. Having reached the semi-finals four times (2016, 2018, 2022, 2024) out of six tournaments (2014, 2016, 2018, 2021, 2022 and 2024), Les Bleus are living a golden age. If the style leaves something to be desired, the results are there. Deschamps just asks to be judged on that. And on that point, he puts everyone on the same page.

Baby, simply eternal

What a game from Pepe… Like his amazing comeback to Marcus Thuram, the former Real Madrid defender put in an absolutely amazing game. What courage, what strength, what serenity… Pepe clearly did not look his age on Friday night in Hamburg. 41 years old is all the same for a Porto player. Or rather a former Porto player, knowing that the person in question is at the end of his contract. Pepe, the monster of anticipation: he knows very well that he no longer has the ability to shine with his speed, he strives to see everything in advance, to guess. And he did that magnificently on Friday night in Hamburg.Pepe is everything he showed during the tournament, not only during the matches, but also in the way he worked during training, the way he supported his teammates, and his commitment.Roberto Martinez said. And his tears are tears of frustration. Because when you play against the best opponents, there are no tears. The tears are there because it is difficult to accept that we are falling by the wayside tonight with our performance. But beyond that, Pepe is a role model for Portuguese football and what he did tonight and throughout the tournament will stay with us, with generations to come.” legend.

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claw strikes

Mbappe and Griezmann nightmare

The two situations are different, but the general feeling is the same. Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann are out of the Euros. Coming off at the hour mark, the vice-captain is hard to see. However, with his focus back at the heart of the game, he had little impact for a player of his calibre. A sign of latent spleen, he spent the penalty session under his jacket and somewhat away from the rest of the group… What can we say about his captain, who asked to give up his place in extra time, exhausted? The version presented is disastrous. No impact on the game, no running behind the Portuguese defence and few gaps. And when he was in position to strike, the slackness in his attempts was evident. Without his two stars, the Blues are halfway there. Can they get the moon without them?

Ronaldo, Twilight

The question of Cristiano Ronaldo's international retirement was put to Roberto Martinez… who kicked the ball. At 39, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner missed his appointment. Devoured by a cross, kneaded by Upamecano, he went through hell on Friday night, never managing to fool the vigilance of the club's two keepers from the blue house. Once, in extra time, he had a chance and missed it. It was not his night. To say he looks his age would be an insult, but Ronaldo has never kept his age, and he has been cut off from the rest of his partners. A service that will revive interest in his presence in the selection.

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Class gap between the first two quartiles

The contrast between Spain-Germany (2-1) and Portugal-France (0-0, 5-3) is stark. But there was not much difference if we talk about the quality of the individuals between the two matches. In terms of content and quality of football, there was a world… The Blues certainly master the art of shattering their opponents' dreams with cold realism and impregnable defence. But we expected more, we expected better. The same for Portugal, by the way. Roberto Martinez's plan was clearly not to risk the ball, so as not to give Mbappé the chance to wake up. And no danger, apart from Rafael Leao, the only Portuguese player who was dangerous during the first two thirds of the match. It's not enough.”We play like this. We are in the semi-finals. Those who are not happy, that is not our problem.“It's a great performance,” commented Ousmane Dembele, the best player of the match.

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About the Author: Lucinda Lima

"Desbravador de cerveja apaixonado. Álcool alcoólico incurável. Geek de bacon. Viciado em web em geral."

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