Portugal-France: the light came from N’Golo Kanté

Luck favors the bold, according to the adage. See N’Golo Kanté, yet a defensive midfielder by vocation, offer this Saturday a magnificent success to the French team in Lisbon against Portugal (1-0) of Cristiano Ronaldo is anything but a coincidence. His consistency with the selection or his Chelsea club, is rewarded by his second achievement in international career (44 selections). A goal of the most collective player in a hyper successful collective performance. What is surprising, finally?

The light has also arrived from midfielders in a meeting that Didier Deschamps’ group could have completed much earlier without the cruel lack of realism of Anthony Martial (12th, 27th, 30th, 41st). Adrien Rabiot, hard-hitting and offensive in a role “à la Blaise Matuidi”, caused an error in the hand of the goalkeeper Rui Patricio with a low shot. Kanté appeared and had only to push the ball into the net (54th) before putting out his best smile in the arms of Kingsley Coman.

But let’s come back to audacity. From this selection of world champion humiliated by the Finland team (2-0) four days earlier and N’Golo Kanté. Before the opening scoring, the 29-year-old midfielder had abandoned his defensive position for a surprising and ephemeral position of number 10, or even 9 and a half. Once again, it was no accident to see him tumble into the Portuguese area. A goal from the native of Paris is precious: Kanté had not scored since March 2016 during a success against Russia (4-2).

Regular again at the highest level

Everything that is rare becomes expensive and precious. Thanks to this success, Kanté offers his country first place in group A of this League of Nations and will compete in the “Final Four” in place of Portugal, winner of the first edition. When many players suffer from hellish autumnal cadences, the former Caen shines with his consistency after a year 2019 marred by injuries. With the Blues, he only missed the trip to Croatia (2-1) after a muscle alert during training. Otherwise, in Sweden (0-1), against Croatia (4-2) or Portugal (0-0) at the Stade de France, he already brought this precious balance in the midfield.

Unfairly sanctioned (79th) by the referee for a tackle yet successful in front of Danilo Pereira, Kanté in particular allowed Rabiot and Pogba many offensive projections. Just as he was able to cover the right side of Benjamin Pavard, sometimes lonely. Chelsea framework, where he appears 90% of the time in the starting eleven, the number 13 was able to attend at the end of the match the parades of his captain, Hugo Lloris. Despite the fatigue, a last recovery in front of its surface made everyone breathe. The hero is indeed called Kanté.

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