Euro 2024: France beat Portugal on penalties to set up semi-final against Spain | Football News

NEW DELHI: Theo Hernandez‘s successful penalty kick secured France’s hard-fought victory over Portugal in a tense Euro 2024 quarter-final match on Friday. The game ended 0-0 after 120 minutes, with France prevailing 5-3 in the shoot-out. This match is likely to be remembered as Cristiano Ronaldo‘s final appearance in the tournament.
France converted all their penalties, setting up a semi-final clash with Spain.Portugal’s Joao Felix was the only player to miss, hitting the post with his team’s third attempt.
The shoot-out triumph was a welcome change for France, who had previously suffered penalty heartbreaks in major tournaments. They lost the 2022 World Cup final to Argentina and were eliminated from the last Euros by Switzerland in the round of 16, both via penalties. Additionally, they were defeated by Italy in the 2006 World Cup final, which was also held in Germany.
Kylian Mbappe, who had missed the decisive penalty against Switzerland, was substituted by Bradley Barcola during extra time and did not participate in the shoot-out. Barcola, along with Ousmane Dembele, Youssouf Fofana, and Jules Kounde, successfully converted their spot-kicks for France.
“I am proud of my players. Even if we are not doing everything perfectly we don’t give up,” said France coach Didier Deschamps.
“Once again we are in the semi-finals. I will savour this a little even if we have another game coming up.”
Mbappe struggled to find his rhythm throughout the match, as he continues to adapt to playing with a protective mask covering his recently fractured nose, an injury sustained during France’s initial encounter against Austria.
Despite the setback, the young forward will have another opportunity to showcase his talents in the upcoming semi-final. On the other hand, Ronaldo, at the age of 39, seems to have made his final appearance in the European Championship.
This tournament marked Ronaldo’s sixth European Championship, but he was unable to contribute to his record-breaking tally of 14 goals in the competition, having failed to find the back of the net in all five of Portugal’s matches in Germany.
Although Ronaldo successfully converted his penalty, which was Portugal’s first, Roberto Martinez’s squad has been eliminated after failing to score in over six hours of play. They advanced to the quarter-finals by defeating Slovenia on penalties following a goalless draw in the round of 16, but this time, they fell short in what turned out to be a lackluster match in Hamburg.
“In the same way that it was maybe cruel for Slovenia in the last 16, today it was cruel for us. That’s football,” Bernardo Silva told CNN.
France and Portugal, both underperforming in the tournament, faced off in a match that lacked intensity but had moments of excitement in the second half.
Portugal started to threaten with midfield runners getting into the box, as Bruno Fernandes and Vitinha tested Mike Maignan, who was determined to maintain his clean sheet in open play. Ronaldo nearly scored from close range, but Maignan reacted quickly to deny him.
France countered with Kolo Muani and Kounde combining, but Ruben Dias made a crucial interception.
Deschamps brought on Dembele, who immediately set up a golden opportunity for Camavinga, which the midfielder missed. The game drifted towards extra time, where Ronaldo missed a good chance from Francisco Conceicao’s cutback.
Mbappe, France’s captain, watched the end of extra time from the bench as Maignan denied Nuno Mendes at the very end of 120 minutes, leading to a penalty shoot-out.
The shoot-out took place at the Portugal end of the Volksparkstadion, with Maignan not making any saves but not needing to. Despite Diogo Costa’s heroics in the previous round, saving three Slovenia penalties, he could not stop any this time.

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