Anthony Martial came off the bench in France’s 1-0 defeat to Portugal in the Euro 2016 final on Sunday but was unable to help his team score an equalising goal in his short spell on the field.
Martial was making his first appearance for France in almost a month, with the Manchester United striker having last appeared in the second group stage match against Albania when he was substituted off at half-time.
Not enough time for Martial magic
France boss Didier Deschamps seemed reluctant to bring Martial on despite his team rarely threatening to open the scoring in the closing stages of normal time and the resulting extra time period.
It was only after Portugal’s Eder had scored with a low shot from outside the area that Deschamps turned to Martial, by which time there were only ten minutes of extra time remaining. The United forward replaced Moussa Sissoko but only had a few half chances – once being shielded out of play with a typical run down the left and another time seeing his shot blocked inside the box.
Summer international duties over for the Reds
Martial’s brief appearance for France will be the last competitive action of any United player until the new season begins next month. The striker will be disappointed at having started just once and playing a total of only 69 minutes in three matches in the tournament, although he wouldn't have been as dismayed as Morgan Schneiderlin, who didn't play a single minute in the tournament.
France knocked out Bastian Schweinsteiger’s Germany to reach the final and, despite the midfielder not consistently performing at his best in these finals, the former Bayern Munich man will at least have been happy to get some minutes under his belt. He made five appearances for his country at Euro 2016, with four of those coming from the bench.
Marouane Fellaini and Matteo Darmian, both of whom reached the quarter-finals with Belgium and Italy respectively, were used sporadically in their country’s stints in the tournament, as was Paddy McNair of Northern Ireland, who exited at the last 16 stage.
Wayne Rooney and Chris Smalling were decent for England in the group stages but both were below par in the first knockout round defeat to Iceland, whilst compatriot Marcus Rashford only managed two, admittedly encouraging, substitute appearances in the tournament. David de Gea of Spain, who exited at the same stage, was in fine form for his country but did make a few more mistakes than usual in the competition.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who joined United after Sweden were knocked out in the group stage, was another player who failed to perform to the best of their ability at Euro 2016.
Those players, along with Antonio Valencia, Marcos Rojo, and Sergio Romero – who all participated in the Copa America – will join up with Jose Mourinho’s first team squad for pre-season later than others because of their international commitments this summer.
United’s pre-season preparations begin with a friendly away to Wigan Athletic on Saturday before they play further matches on tour in China and then Sweden.