Summer Briefing: Reds duo react to tough day

Sunday 20 June 2021 10:54

Manchester United midfielders Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes were involved in a dramatic day at Euro 2020 on Saturday, as their respective national teams both dropped points.

WHAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY?

Portugal's game against Germany grabbed most of the headlines as the two European heavyweights played out a thrilling clash in Munich.

Bruno's side had gone ahead after a ruthlessly rampant counter-attack that was started and finished off by Cristiano Ronaldo, but Germany soon showed once again why they should never be written off. Joachim Low's team had the ball in the back of the net even before Portugal's opener but Robin Gosens' strike was ruled out for offside.

Bruno chases Ronaldo in celebration.

They soon found a way to score legitimately and by half-time, Die Mannschaft led, benefitting from two own goals. Ruben Dias and Raphael Guerreiro both fired the ball into the back of their own net under pressure from Germany's attackers. Both defenders had to make an attempt to play the ball to stop it reaching the waiting striker and were unfortunate in watching it go past their own 'keeper.

Kai Havertz extended the lead soon after half-time before Atalanta wing-back Gosens, the only player in the Germany squad to never play in the Bundesliga, finally got a well-deserved goal. Portugal continued the excitement when Diogo Jota got one back in the 67th minute but they couldn't find anything else at the Allianz Arena, meaning Group F remains wide open going into the final games.

Bruno reacted to a disappointing evening for his country after the game, describing their next match as a 'final': "We have to stay united... let's do our best in Wednesday's final." Portugal play France on Wednesday (20:00 BST).

As for Pogba and France, the same feeling was evident. Despite dominating possession against Hungary and creating a flurry of chances, the star-studded France team couldn't convert with enough accuracy.

Attila Fiota put Hungary ahead in added time of the first half, cueing jubilant scenes in the packed Puskas Arena in Budapest. The ecstatic scorer dived into the crowd after firstly celebrating with a startled pitchside reporter sat at her desk. It'll be remembered as one of the great moments of the tournament, no doubt.

Pogba cools down in the heat of Budapest on Saturday afternoon.
France equalised through Antoine Griezmann in the second half but it only converted a shock defeat into a shock draw. As Pogba said, there's still work left to do for Didier Deschamps' side.

Deschamps praised Pogba post-match despite the result.

"I don’t like talking about what’s happening at club level be it Solskjaer or other managers," said France's head coach.

"All I can talk about is Pogba playing for France. He's a leader even though he wasn’t quite as good today. He's a real cornerstone for the France team."

Pogba asked to compare midfield duos article

Patrick Vieira joined a debate with Paul over two of France's very best partnerships in the engine room.

Elsewhere in the tournament on Saturday, Spain were held to a 1-1 draw by a Lewandowski-led Poland. David De Gea was an unused substitute.

Much earlier in the day, Edinson Cavani started his Copa America campaign in a game that kicked off at 01:00 BST. Uruguay were beaten 1-0 by Argentina, Guido Rodriguez heading in the only goal of the game from a Lionel Messi cross.

WHAT'S HAPPENING TODAY?

As the Euro 2020 group stage continues, Dan James will be part of the Wales side looking to topple the Roman Empire that Roberto Mancini has built at the start of this tournament. Italy have been fearless and exciting thus far, dispatching both Turkey and Switzerland, scoring six goals and conceding none. The Dragons will need another magnificent performance to cause an upset.

Victory for James and co would secure top spot in the group but they need only a point to be certain of qualification for the knockout rounds.

"I don't think you can ever write us off," James told BBC Sport.

"Italy are a great team, but we go in believing we can win. Yes we are underdogs, but we want to play the best teams."

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