World champions France won the Nations League final with goals from Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe earning them a 2-1 win over Spain at the San Siro stadium on Sunday.
Didier Deschamps side had struggled to get a foothold in the game during a first half dominated by Spain but after going a goal down, following Mikel Oyarzabal’s strike, they came alive.
With Paul Pogba excellent in midfield, Mbappe’s speed and movement stretching Spain and Benzema a constant threat, the French were good value for their victory.
France needed just two minutes to make it 1-1 when Mbappe assisted Karim Benzema’s magnificent strike in the 66th minute before scoring off a Theo Hernandez feed in the 80th minute.
“We showed our character against a very strong team. We never gave up,” said Benzema.
“It shows what great teams do — never panic, be patient and wait for the right time.”
Luis Enrique’s young Spain side, who had beaten European champions Italy in the semi-finals, had played their trademark possession football with patience and precision but in the end could not compensate for the absence of a genuine striker.
“It was a difficult defeat,” said Spain’s France-born defender Aymeric Laporte.
“We have proven to be a great team despite our youth, we have shown better football than them, but what counts is the result.
This is the second edition of Nations League, and it remains clearly UEFA’s secondary tournament for national sides.
“We did not get off to a good start we were dominated and waited until the first goal to react,” said Pogba, who was crucial to France’s response.
“We know we have to do better. But if it’s the way we have to win, so be it. Winning a trophy is always good. We’re always hungry for those,” he added.