A look at what’s happening around European soccer on Saturday:
PORTUGAL vs FRANCE
The two top national teams in Europe meet in Lisbon where Portugal hosts world champion France. Portugal, the reigning European champion, is seeking to reach the Nations League final and defend its title from last season’s inaugural tournament. Portugal edges France on goal difference at the top of Group 3 with both teams undefeated. Both sides will have one match left after their clash. Only the group winner advances to the final. Kylian Mbappe is with France despite nursing a minor thigh injury. He didn’t play in a friendly defeat against Finland on Wednesday, but coach Didier Deschamps said the injury’s improving. Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo is seven goals shy of the all-time record for men’s national teams held by former striker Ali Daei, who scored 109 times for Iran. “Both sides have great players and there’s always a risk of a counterattack if you lose possession,” Portugal coach Fernando Santos said. “So, it’s about being organized and maintaining concentration, but we are confident.”
Spain visits Switzerland needing a win to ensure it arrives at the final group match against Germany with the lead of Group 4. Spain has seven points; Germany and Ukraine have six each; Switzerland has two. Spain is looking to rebound from its shock 1-0 loss at Ukraine in its last competitive match, a loss that ended its 13-game unbeaten streak in competitive games. “We are prepared to go out to win the game and control our destiny in the final match (of the group),” Spain coach Luis Enrique said. Spain will be without Barcelona teenage sensation Ansu Fati after he injured his left knee. Marco Asensio has taken his place.
GERMANY vs UKRAINE
Germany coach Joachim Löw’s rebuild for the European Championship is starting to show results, but it’s not firing up fans at home. Domestic TV ratings for the 1-0 friendly win over the Czech Republic on Wednesday hit a new record low. Germany can overtake Spain and move into a qualifying spot for the Nations League finals if it beats Ukraine and Spain doesn’t beat Switzerland. Löw is without the injured Bayern Munich midfielder Joshua Kimmich, though Benfica’s Luca Waldschmidt shows signs of growing into his new role as a Germany striker.
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