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Euro 2016: Local pundits give France the upper hand in final

Ezz El Din sees hosts’ strong bench as a weapon

Image Credit: Reuters
France’s Hugo Lloris and Bacary Sagna during a news conference on the eve of Euro 2016 final, yesterday.
Gulf News

Dubai: UAE sports pundits feel host nation France hold an edge as they take on Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal in the Euro 2016 final on Sunday.

Sharjah Sports TV pundits Ezz El Din Elkallawy and Sami Abdul Emam both agreed that Portugal will be a vulnerable side, thus, nominating France to snatch the Euro title with an easy win.

“It’s always hard to predict, especially in this year’s Euro, but theoretically speaking, France have a variety of options on their bench and the advantage of playing at home,” Elkallawy said.

The Alroeya daily sports writer said that France had a great run in the tournament, scoring nine goals in the knock-out stages and eliminating some serious title-contenders. “They defeated Germany, the best team in the tournament in my opinion, a team feared by the greats,” the sports critic said.

Abdul Emam minced no words in nominating Portugal as “the weaker side“ in the final. “For France, yes, but for Portugal, I don’t think so, because they found themselves on the easier side in the knockout stages and they qualified from the group stages over goal-difference,” he said.

Asked what factors will decide the outcome of the final, Dubai Sports Council’s Media Consultant said: “the strengths of all positions will be crucial in deciding the winner because having a good striker, a mid-fielder or a defender on his own won’t be enough.

“If you remember France’s game with Germany, you should recall how tight the game was and despite the strength of all of Germany’s lines, they failed to break through the French,” added the MBC sports pundit.

Both experts felt it will be an even contest physically, despite the extra day of rest that Portugal had.

— The writer is an intern with Gulf News