France and Portugal remain locked together on top of Nations League Group A3 after playing out a goalless draw at the Stade de France.
Facing each other for the very first time considering that Eder proved Portugal’s unlikely hero in the last of Euro 2016 at the very same place, a set of all-star attacks found no other way through against similarly elite defences.
Didier Deschamps’ hosts, who enjoyed the backing of 1,000 socially distanced fans within the spacious arena, were not able to move the free-scoring form that saw them demolish Ukraine 7-1 in a midweek friendly.
Portugal followed up their 0-0 draw versus Spain with another stalemate, although Pepe believed he had headed a 74th-minute winner, just to see the offside flag raised.
Lucas Hernandez made a desperate block to deny Cristiano Ronaldo on completion of Bernardo Silva’s deft 24th-minute flick– the opening exchanges having actually been easy on the eye without yielding much in the method of goalmouth action.
Antoine Griezmann drifted in between Ruben Dias and Raphael Guerreiro lock on to Paul Pogba’s floated pass and fire at Hugo Lloris, while Joao Felix incurred Ronaldo’s rage at the other end by flinging himself at Bruno Fernandes’ free-kick to divert it far from the Juventus super star.
Kylian Mbappe aimed to rip the game open early in the second half, beating Danilo Pereira with a dazzling piece of ability, but Rui Patricio conserved his dinked effort well.
Ronaldo uncharacteristically misjudged a half-volleyed attempt from Guerreiro’s browsing cross and it was an unerring set-piece shipment from the Borussia Dortmund man that chose a stooping Pepe, whose events were properly interrupt.
A more familiar match-winner nearly presented himself in stoppage time, however Lloris got down greatly to ward off Ronaldo at his near post.
What does it suggest? All to bet in the return
Despite the lack of a definitive minute, this was a classy encounter with some of Europe’s finest skills capturing the eye.
Portugal and France have seven points from their three matches and anticipate them to add three more apiece before conference again next month.
France travel to Croatia on Wednesday, when Portugal host Sweden.