France vs. Portugal: Date, Time, Live Stream, TV Info and Preview

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistOctober 11, 2014

France's Yohan Cabaye, center, challenges with Serbia's Zoran Tosic during their international friendly soccer match in Belgrade, Serbia, Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
Darko Vojinovic/Associated Press

Fernando Santos will make his debut as manager of Portugal's national team in a friendly against Euro 2016 hosts France on Saturday, a final tune-up match before the team's qualifier against Denmark on Tuesday.

Portugal suffered a nightmare start to the campaign with a 1-0 home loss against Albania, leading to the sacking of Paulo Bento.

Santos will be tasked with rebuilding a squad that has largely underperformed in the past few years, and with plenty of talent at his disposal, immediate success will be expected.

Victory won't come easy at the Stade de France, however. The hosts had a strong 2014 World Cup and have one of the more exciting young squads on the planet, and with no pressure to qualify for the next international tournament, les Bleus will play free of pressure and with plenty of attacking intent.

Date: Saturday, October 11

Time: 7.45 p.m. BST/2:45 p.m. ET

Venue: Stade de France, Saint-Denis, Paris

TV info and live stream: The match will be broadcast on ESPN Deportes (for US viewers), with mobile coverage available via the Watch ESPN app.

Preview

BRASILIA, BRAZIL - JUNE 26:  A dejected Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal takes a moment after the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group G match between Portugal v Ghana at Estadio Nacional on June 26, 2014 in Brasilia, Brazil.  (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Image
Warren Little/Getty Images

Unlike most of the top matches played over the weekend in Europe, Saturday's match at the Stade de France is a friendly. For the French squad, it will be a chance to give some fringe players the opportunity to shine—the Portuguese will experiment with an eye on Denmark just days later.

As a result, several big names won't be playing. Didier Deschamps has already confirmed Tottenham's Hugo Lloris won't start for Les Bleus, via French Football Weekly:

Bleacher Report's Jonathan Johnson also reports Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny isn't in the squad:

The visitors have some injury concerns of their own, in the form of Real Madrid's Fabio Coentrao, via BBC Sport:

France will be hit hardest by the absentees, particularly in the defensive department. Koscielny joins team-mate Mathieu Debuchy on the list on injured defenders, nor will Liverpool's Mamadou Sakho be available.

This opens the door for several youngsters to grasp their opportunity, with Manchester City's Eliaquim Mangala in particular coming to mind.

The 23-year-old centre-back hasn't had a perfect start to life in the Premier League, with a disastrous performance against Hull City fresh in the minds of fans, but as far as raw talent goes, he has the potential to be a long-term starter for Deschamps.

He'll be tasked with stopping the most in-form forward in the world, as Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to feature for Portugal. The Real star has scored in eight consecutive matches, per WhoScored.com, and he'd love to add to his tally and help Santos' tenure get off to the perfect start.

According to OptaJean, history suggests the hosts have the upper hand, however:

Portugal may field arguably the best player in the world in Ronaldo, but France have the better team in terms of talent. Paul Pogba and Blaise Matuidi should win the battle for possession in midfield, but the visitors don't need the ball to be dangerous thanks to their superb athleticism.

France's defensive injuries will be key, and coupled with new boss Santos urging his players to start things off on the right way, Portugal should be slight favourites coming into this match.

Prediction: France 2-2 Portugal


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