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Euro 2024: France Beat Portugal 5-3 on Penalties, Advance to Semi-Finals

Euro 2024: France Beat Portugal 5-3 on Penalties, Advance to Semi-Finals

France secured a spot in the Euro 2024 semi-finals with a dramatic 5-3 penalty shootout victory over Portugal after a goalless draw. Theo Hernandez capitalized on Joao Felix’s miss to score the decisive penalty. Kylian Mbappe was subbed off during extra-time, while Cristiano Ronaldo’s final Euros ended in defeat. France will face Spain in the semi-finals on Tuesday.

Theo Hernandez struck the winning penalty for France after Portugal’s Joao Felix hit the post in the shootout following a 0-0 draw, sending Didier Deschamps’ side into a Euro 2024 semi-final against Spain.

There were no tears this time from Cristiano Ronaldo, who had been overcome by emotion during Portugal’s last-16 win over Slovenia. Despite converting his own spot-kick, the 39-year-old’s final Euros campaign ended in defeat. He was left to console outstanding 41-year-old teammate Pepe at the end.

Ronaldo was on the fringes for much of the cagey contest, although both sides had chances to win it in the second half of normal time. France’s Mike Maignan produced sharp stops to keep out Bruno Fernandes and Vitinha before smothering Ronaldo’s follow-up backheel. Randal Kolo Muani saw his shot blocked by Ruben Dias, and Eduardo Camavinga missed from close range.

Impact sub Ousmane Dembele grazed a post in the final moments of the 90 minutes, but extra-time saw these two recent European champions err on the side of caution. A half-chance for Ronaldo was hacked over as Pepe and Dayot Upamecano celebrated blocks like goals. The major talking point of that extra period was Kylian Mbappe coming off at half-time, having sustained a blow to his face earlier. France’s star man, masked and nursing a broken nose, must have been in serious discomfort to step off the pitch before the shootout, but his teammates were perfect from 12 yards. Joao Felix was the only player to miss, hitting his effort against an upright, which presented Hernandez with the chance to send France into the final four and a showdown with Spain in Munich on Tuesday.

Ronaldo Center Stage Again – But Was This His Curtain Call?

Even with superstar Kylian Mbappe on the pitch, attention is drawn towards Cristiano Ronaldo. His penalty shootout spot-kick summed up the theater surrounding him. The dramatic intake of breath, the staggered run-up, and the big celebration when he impressively thumped the ball in. However, while he played his part in Portugal’s two shootouts in the knockout stages, his contributions during normal play have been less convincing. He was isolated and spurned the half-chances when they came his way. With Portugal failing to link up in the final third, Goncalo Ramos, who famously scored a hat-trick when he replaced Ronaldo as a starter at the World Cup, and Diogo Jota were left on the bench.

The nod from Roberto Martinez never came. The Portugal manager stood by Ronaldo until the very last. Perhaps this will be the final time we see him at a major tournament. His final Euros ended without an in-game goal, indicating it might be time for the next generation to take over.

It Wasn’t Pretty, But France Finds a Way Through

It’s not just England supporters lamenting their side’s lack of exciting football at these championships. France fans must be feeling the same. Incredibly, Les Bleus have reached the semi-finals without scoring from open play. They rarely looked like ending that strange drought against Portugal. Didier Deschamps’ side was passive, allowing Portugal to control possession for long periods. When they did get the ball in the opposition half, there was little cohesion. Star man Kylian Mbappe clearly wasn’t right – his substitution midway through extra-time indicated that. But around him, there seemed a lack of conviction or commitment to go for it.

Ousmane Dembele showed some drive when he came off the bench and is surely pushing for a starting role against Spain. Certainly, France will need to find some final-third spark if they are to reclaim their European crown.

Tchouameni: We Don’t Care If We Don’t Deserve to Go Through

France midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni: “We don’t care whether it’s deserved or not, we want to savor this victory. Not everything is perfect offensively and defensively, that’s true. We get beaten up, sometimes rightly so. But we’re not going to be picky, we’re in the semi-finals [against Spain]. Everyone can talk, you journalists too, you do your job.”

Pepe: It Hurts to Lose Like That, We Deserved More

Portugal defender Pepe told Record: “It hurts to lose like that. It’s hard to find words for what we did. We deserved a different result, but that’s football. Four days ago, we were happy about the penalties, and now we’re sad. We were smart in playing with the defined system, but that’s football. We had two games against Slovenia and the Czech Republic, who play in a low block and it’s difficult to face those teams. We tried to give them width. Today it would be more open with a different rhythm, just like Turkey, who wanted to play open against us. I wanted to continue in this competition. The hug means a lot… it’s not the right time [to talk] because it’s very painful and we’ll have the opportunity to talk about it later. I’ll have time to talk about my future, we have to get over this huge pain, we had the ability to win the competition, and now we have to lift our heads.”

Credit: Sky Sports

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