Key Battle — 1

The French centre-back has had an exceptional tournament, winning aerial duels, making interceptions, and — given the side’s occasional mental slip-up — putting in last-ditch blocks and tackles. Koscielny has also guided the increasingly impressive Samuel Umtiti to a point where it seems as if they have played together for years.

But Ronaldo will be unlike anyone Koscielny has faced this tournament. The Portuguese striker doesn’t attempt as many take-ons as he once did, but his movement off the ball and explosive acceleration are terrifyingly world-class.

He’s also a statistical shot-monster, able to create just enough space to get a strike off from most positions.

Right-back Bacary Sagna will assist Koscielny, but in dangerous areas — given Portugal plays two strikers — it will largely be 1v1.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2022 5:08:30 AM |

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