Fri, Feb 24, 2017 | updated 03:02 AM IST

Matuidi downplays France's `favourites` tag for Euro final against Portugal

Updated: Jul 09, 2016 11:57 IST
Madrid, July 9 (ANI): Ahead of the tantalizing Euro 2016 finale on Sunday, France midfielder Blaise Matuidi has refused to label his side as the clear cut favourites for the summit clash against resurgent Portugal.

"I don't think we enter the final as favourites," Matuidi was quoted as saying in Spanish newspaper Marca. "I think this will be a highly contested match. Portugal are trending in the right direction at the moment and they have phenomenal players. I foresee a great match between two football powerhouses."

The Paris Saint-Germain midfielder observed that Portugal will be 'extremely hard to beat', while pointing out that their rivals attack do not just consist of star striker Cristiano Ronaldo but also other experienced players.

"Portugal are a well-oiled machine with plenty of experienced players and will be extremely hard to beat, the 29-year-old said. "In a final, the goal is to win rather than to play attractive football."

Matuidi further tried to lower the expectation of those expecting France to put up a ruthless performance. He said, "We must not get ahead of ourselves. Firstly we need to make sure we earn on the pitch our right to be considered heroes."

Hosts France has been swept up in a wave of national football fervour following their 2-0 win over world champions Germany in Thursday's semifinal clash.

Meanwhile, Portugal will aim to erase harsh memories of Euro 2004 final defeat to Greece, which was one of the biggest upsets in the history of the continental tournament. (ANI)

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