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Croatia’s first match since their World Cup final defeat by France ended in a draw as Pepe headed an equaliser for Portugal in a friendly in Lisbon.

The visitors took the lead, with Ivan Perisic volleying in from close range in the 18th minute.

But Pepe, who scored in his country’s last-16 loss to Uruguay in Russia this summer, headed in Pizzi’s cross on 32 minutes to earn the home side a draw.

Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo missed the game after declaring himself unfit.

Sergio Oliveira and Gedson Fernandes won their first caps after coming on as second-half substitutes for the visitors, who also had Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves and Southampton defender Cedric Soares in their starting XI.

Croatia, beaten 4-2 by France in the World Cup final in July, are now without retired goalkeeper Danijel Subasic and striker Mario Mandzukic, while influential midfielder Ivan Rakitic was rested for the game.

Both countries begin their Nations League campaigns next week, with Portugal hosting Italy in Group A3 on Monday, while Croatia are in Spain on Tuesday in Group A4, which also contains England.
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World champions France were held to a goalless draw by Germany in League A of Uefa’s Nations League.

Playing their first game since beating Croatia to win the World Cup, France forward Antoine Griezmann forced Manuel Neuer into a smart save.

The match improved after a poor first half with Marco Reus and Matthias Ginter both denied by France goalkeeper Alphonse Areola on his debut.

France host Netherlands in the second group game on Sunday (19:45 BST).

After the home and away fixtures between the teams, the group winners move to next June’s finals with the three other League A group winners and the chance to be crowned Nations League champions.

Didier Deschamps’ side will be looking to progress once more after being beaten in the final of Euro 2016 by Portugal, but triumphing in Russia this summer.

They claimed a credible point away to four-time world champions Germany, who were back in action after a humiliating group stage exit at the World Cup.

RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner caused problems with his pace but was unable to deliver a telling pass in the final third, while defender Mats Hummels forced Paris Saint- Germain’s Areola – the only change from the World Cup final starting line-up – into a sharp stop after a foray forward.

Manchester City winger Leroy Sane returned to the German side late in the second half – after being left out of the World Cup squad – but was unable to make an impact in his seven minutes on the pitch.
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Sports
Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba believes “there will always be talk” amid continuing speculation about his future at Old Trafford.

The 25-year-old fell out of favour last season and was linked with a return to Juventus, or Barcelona in the summer.

On Wednesday, Pogba fuelled speculation when he said: “Who knows what will happen in the next few months.”

However, on Thursday, he said: “It’s not me who’s talking. I’m trying to do my job and work on myself physically.”

The World Cup winner was speaking either side of France’s 0-0 draw with Germany in their opening Uefa Nations League match.

When asked if he was “fed up” with all the speculation, he replied: “I got back late [from the World Cup], so I’m trying to perform as well as possible.”

Asked about his relationship with United boss Jose Mourinho, Pogba replied: “We have a pure coach-player relationship, that’s right.

“One thing I can assure you, I will always give 100% – no matter which coach I always give everything for United. I cannot say more.”

The former United youth player returned to the club on a five-year deal after four years with Juventus, signing for a then world record £89m fee in 2016.

Last season, he was dropped to the bench by Mourinho for both legs of United’s Champions League last-16 defeat by Sevilla.

But he was made captain for the opening two games of the Premier League season in the absence of Antonio Valencia and has scored twice so far.
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