Spain 1-2 France: Karim Benzema stunner and Kylian Mbappe strike clinch Nations League trophy for France

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France's Karim Benzema is surrounded by teammates after scoring his team's first goal during the UEFA Nations League final soccer match between Spain and France at the San Siro stadium, in Milan, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021. (Miguel Medina/Pool Photo via AP)
France's Karim Benzema is surrounded by teammates after scoring his team's first goal during the UEFA Nations League final soccer match between Spain and France at the San Siro stadium, in Milan, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021. (Miguel Medina/Pool Photo via AP)

Kylian Mbappe gained redemption for his Euro 2020 disappointment by scoring France’s Nations League-clinching goal in their 2-1 win over Spain, as the final lived up to a week of remarkable drama in the competition.

The Paris Saint-Germain superstar had missed his country’s crucial spot-kick in their last-16 shoot-out exit to Switzerland in the summer but he scored a penalty to put France into this final and made no mistake when VAR surprisingly called an offside decision in his favour 10 minutes from time in Milan.

Initially this showdown between two of Europe’s heavyweights had struggled to live up to the twists and turns of the midweek semis, with Raphael Varane’s thigh injury the main talking point from a cagey first half – but the contest came to life in the space of three second-half minutes.

Mikel Oyarzabal (64) got the better of Varane’s replacement, Dayot Upamecano, to put Spain in front just seconds after Karim Benzema had crashed a shot against the underside of the bar – but the France striker responded himself moments later with a sensational, curling shot past Unai Simon (66) to equalise.

That set the stage for Mbappe to tuck away Theo Hernandez’s through ball and make the world champions the second-ever Nations League winners, a triumph which signals their return to form just over a year out from their World Cup title defence.

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