We never give up: Benzema

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Kylian Mbappe fired France to Nations League glory on Sunday after netting the winner which completed a comeback from a goal down to beat Spain 2-1 in Milan. 

Mbappe struck with 10 minutes remaining to win the title for world champions France after Karim Benzema had levelled just two minutes after Mikel Oyarzabal put Spain into a 64th-minute lead. The win will ease some of the pain created by an early exit from Euro 2020 at the hands of Switzerland and highlighted just how powerful France are going forward. “I really wanted to win a trophy with France, and now it’s done,” said Benzema, who returned the France fold ahead of the Euro, to M6. 

“We showed strength of character, because this team is very strong, never gives up and we have proven it today. It is the sign of a great team not to panic, to be patient and to wait for the right opportunity.”

Karim Benzema (left) and Kylian Mbappe after a goal. Pic/AFP

Mbappe scores winner 

Les Bleus came out on top of a match at the San Siro which came to life after Oyarzabal slid home the opener. As well as the two goals from their superstar attackers, France had other opportunities to score through Mbappe before a frantic finish in which Spain launched an assault on the French goal. Didier Deschamps can thank Hugo Lloris the match didn’t go into extra-time after the France captain pulled off a fine stoppage time save to deny Yeremi Pino a late leveller. 

Earlier, Italy took third place after beating Belgium 2-1 in Turin through goals form Nicolo Barella and Domenico Berardi. France started the strongest and should have been ahead with five minutes on the clock when Benzema was put through perfectly by Paul Pogba. The Real Madrid striker tried to dribble around Spain goalkeeper Unai Simon but went too far wide and ended up aimlessly hitting a low pass across goal which was easily cut out by Cesar Azpilicueta. Two minutes later a lightning passing move led to Aymeric Laporte, playing against the country of his birth for the first time since obtaining Spanish nationality, cutting out a low cross.

‘Karim is a crucial player’

Deschamps heaped praise on Benzema. “Karim is a crucial player and he has proved over two matches that he has very obvious talent, it’s there for all to see,” Deschamps told reporters. “He has improved in different areas, he’s clinical, he plays his part in the build-up,” he added.

Enrique proud of Spain despite defeat

Milan: Luis Enrique said on Sunday that he was happy with his Spain side despite them coming up short to lose 1-2 to France. The defeat came after a strong performance which could easily have been rewarded by taking the match to extra-time. “I know that we were able to win against European champions and play even with the world champions so for players and the team that is all good. The important thing is that the team maintains its personality and will to win.” Enrique said. 

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