Monday 11 Oct
Updated Monday 11 Oct 11:14
First Team

Pablo Fornals and Spain edged out by France in UEFA Nations League final

Pablo Fornals in action against France

 

Pablo Fornals and Spain were edged out 2-1 by France in the 2021 UEFA Nations League final on Sunday evening.

The West Ham United midfielder was introduced as a late substitute at the San Siro in the Italian city of Milan, where France came from a goal down to take the title.

Spain went ahead on 64 minutes through a goal from Mikel Oyarzabal, who was handed his first-team debut for his club Real Sociedad by David Moyes in October 2015.

France hit back almost immediately when Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema curled in an equaliser, and Les Bleus went ahead with ten minutes remaining when Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappé latched onto a through ball and fired past Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea.

Spain head coach Luis Enrique responded by sending on Fornals, who was winning his fifth senior cap, and Oyarzabal's Sociedad teammate Mikel Merino, with six minutes to play.

However, despite their best efforts, with Fornals seeing a 90th-minute shot blocked and France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris making late saves to deny Oyarzabal and Villarreal winger Yeremi Pino, Spain could not fashion a late leveller.

France's victory saw them become the first European nation to complete the quadruple of FIFA World Cup, FIFA Confederations Cup, UEFA European Championship and UEFA Nations League.

Fornals and Spain, meanwhile, will return to 2020 FIFA World Cup qualifying action in November. The Spanish still face a fight to qualify automatically for next year's tournament in Qatar, despite sitting top of Group B, as second-place Sweden are just a point behind but with a game in-hand, the last of which is in Seville on 14 November.

In the meantime, the 25-year-old will return to West Ham ahead of important matches in the Premier League, UEFA Europa League and Carabao Cup. Ticket details for those games can be found here.

Elsewhere on Sunday, teenage midfielder Pierre Ekwah started as France U20s were held to a goalless draw in the second of two friendly internationals with Tunisia in Mallemort.

Among Ekwah's teammates was Zinedine Zidane's son Theo and Bayern Munich defender Tanguy Nianzou.

 

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