Benzema and Mbappe secure France Nations League triumph against Spain

Milan, October 11 (BNA): Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe inspired France to fall back again and defeat Spain 2-1 in the 2021 Nations League final on Sunday.

The world champions, who came from two goals down against Belgium in the semi-finals on Thursday, fell to Mikel Oyarzabal in the second half moments after Theo Hernandez was injured.

But Luis Enrique’s side – who ended Italy’s record 37-match unbeaten run in Wednesday’s semi-final – bounced back two minutes later as Benzema fired in a superb finish.

Mbappe then doubled the blow when he scored in the 80th minute for France to claim his second title in three attempts after winning the 2018 World Cup and disappointing Euro 2020, according to German news agency (dpa).

Marcos Alonso’s long-range free kick was the only notable opportunity in the first half as Spain struggled throughout the first 45 minutes to regain possession.

Then Raphael Varane was forced off before the break due to a seemingly harmless injury and things worsened for Didier Deschamps’ team after the break.

Mbappe’s clever offload almost made an opening goal but Hernandez hit the crossbar before Oyarzabal, whose shot by Sergio Busquets, ran into the lower right corner in the 64th minute.

However, Benzema and Mbappe combined to equalize on the spot, with the former drifting inland to focus with his right foot in the upper right corner before the latter put France ahead.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward looked offside when he dribbled past Unai Simon after Hernandez’s through ball but the VAR check stuck with the original decision as Mbappe scored his fourth goal in the finals – more than any other player.

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Oyarzabal then provided a late terror as he gently dialed a left-footed shot but was saved by Hugo Lloris before the France goalkeeper narrowly avoided Yeremi Pinault’s first attempt to win the second edition of the competition.

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