Ron can be stopped
Our analyst says the French defenders are up to the task
PORTUGAL v FRANCE
(Tomorrow, 2.50am, Singtel TV Ch 142 & StarHub TV Ch 220 - Eleven EURO)
1 Didier Deschamps has used the same back four for both the quarter-finals and the semi-finals. Do you think he will stick with Patrice Evra, Bacary Sagna, Laurent Koscielny and Samuel Umtiti for the final?
SABLON: I expect him to stick with the same back four, or just perhaps one player to deal with the twin dangers of Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Nani, who move fast and are technically very strong.
With his inexperience at the international level, some may say that Umtiti may be a weak link for the French, especially since he will be facing Ronaldo. But he did well against Germany in the semi-finals.
Ronaldo will prove to be a bigger aerial threat to the French than the Germans, as he has demonstrated with his fantastic goal against Wales.
But, based on the performance of the French defenders in the semi-finals, I think Deschamps won't make any changes to his backline in order to stop Ronaldo.
2 What about Portugal? Fernando Santos has not kept to the same back line since the first two group matches.
I think Santos will keep with the same back four that started in the semi-final against Wales - Bruno Alves, Jose Fonte, Raphael Guerreiro and Cedric Soares.
That said, I think Portugal have been defensively strong throughout this tournament, other than the 3-3 draw with Hungary in their final group tie.
They have conceded only two goals in the other five matches.
Credit must go to their defence and midfield, as well as coach Fernando Santos for gelling these players to play as a team.
3 The spotlight will fall on Cristiano Ronaldo as he chases the elusive international honour which will complete his CV. What's your take on him?
Ronaldo is a fantastic athlete and a team player.
Jose Mourinho's trusted assistant Rui Faria once told me that Ronaldo wakes up every day thinking how he can improve as a footballer, be it nutrition, his fitness or something as simple as a run.
He has really become a good team player in this tournament on top of his normal work-rate, and I hope he will be chosen as this tournament's best player.
4 You have previously explained that Paul Pogba is not hitting the heights in this tournament because of the strict instructions Deschamps gives him. Do you think the coach will unleash the midfield maestro in the final?
I don't think so, it is not Deschamps' style to do that. He is very precise with what he wants from his players on the pitch.
The only concession I can see the coach making is that Pogba may have a freer role when France are in possession and on the offensive.
But, even in a restricted role, Pogba still strikes fear in opposing players when he has the ball. He is very fast, technically very good and works very hard.
He will be there when it matters, like how he was against Germany.
5 Pogba is set to come up against Portugal's Renato Sanches, who is one of the shining stars in this tournament. Who do you think will come up on top?
It is very hard to say, because Sanches is a very good player and very well-organised playing in front of his back four. I would say that they are equal to each other.
That is how I would expect the final to pan out, even though France have a knack for winning tournaments they host, as we have seen in Euro 1984 and the 1998 World Cup.
I expect a very tight game, with Portugal getting on the scoresheet.
But, with their home advantage, I think France will win 2-1 to lift their third European Championship.
However, if the final goes into extra time, it is anyone's guess who will win it.
* Michel Sablon, the Football Association of Singapore's technical director, was talking to Lim Say Heng. The 68-year-old former Belgian FA technical director is credited for developing the blueprint that produced Belgium's current golden generation of footballers.
"Everyone in the country will be against him, but he will thrive off that hostility, and off their fear. He is aware this could be his last opportunity to win something with his country and that makes him even more dangerous. He will be so desperate not to miss out again."
- Ex-Man United defender Rio Ferdinand on Cristiano Ronaldo