Euro 2024: Silent end for Cristiano Ronaldo as France beats Portugal by penalties

Euro 2024: Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal were knocked out from Euro 2024 after their loss to Kylian Mbappe's France via a nail-bitiing penalty shootout. A missed spot-kick from Joao Felix sepereated the two sides and France move to the semi-final where they will face Spain.
Euro 2024: Silent end for Cristiano Ronaldo as France beats Portugal by penalties
Source: AP

France secured a nail-biting win over Portugal via penalties, which marked a bitter end to Cristiano Ronaldo's Euro 2024 journey. After a stalemate throughout the game, the match again found its way to the spot-kicks, but this time it was France who had the last laugh. There were very few factors to separate the two sides, but Joao Felix's penalty hitting the post sent Kylian Mbappe's side to the semi-final against Spain on July 10.

Unlike the first quarter-final between Germany and Spain, the first-half action between Portugal and France lacked the attacking rush to their respective games. One can argue that both sides lacked their fair share of clinical finish to their attacking runs, but France did carry more of a deadly touch to their approach than that of Portugal. While Portugal was majorly dismal when it came to getting the ball into the French box, bet it from corners or free-kicks, France's troubles came in finding that finishing touch to their runs. Although Nuno Mendes came close to sealing the win for Portugal in the dying minutes of extra-time, France sealed the victory with a perfect penalty score.

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Euro 2024: Silent end for Cristiano Ronaldo as France beats Portugal by penalties

A not-so headline-friendly clash as both the superstars, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappe were silent throughout the game, and found it difficult to even cause any major threats to their opposing defence line. While Portugal found their main men in Rafael Leao and Nuno Mendes, France had to depend on Kolo Muani's runs in the first-half and Ousmane Dembélé in the second.

Like all their previous Euro 2024 fixtures, most of Portugal's attacks were focused from the left flank of the field, and that soon got too predictable for the solid French backline. Rafael Leao and Nuno Mendes were behind most of the attacks for Portugal and, after a point, both Dayot Upamecano and Jules Kounde had their eyes fixed on the duo. Portugal's consistent leniency to create gaps from the middle became an eyesore for their fanbase, and that was visible from the unified grunts from the Volksparkstadion.

The most attacks from their midfield setup came with some attacking runs from Vitinha and some long-range efforts from Bruno Fernandes, none of which caused some major problems for Mike Maignan.

Diogo Costa extended his brilliance from the Slovenia clash, and continued to be an eyesore for the star-studded forward line comprising Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and, later on, Ousmane Dembélé. Although both sides enjoyed pretty equal shares of attacking runs, France looked much more dangerous when they got into the Portugal goal-box during the second-half.

Costa was equally complimented with some strong defending work by Ruben Dias, and the ageless Pepe, who had kept the French attacks from the middle of the park in check on multiple occasions. After a horror slip in the backline from the 41-year-old Pepe in his side's clash against Slovenia, many question marks were thrown at the experienced centre-back. But, Pepe diligently shushed the critics with a top performance against a star-studded France attack.

Despite having the likes of Eduardo Camavinga, N'Golo Kante and Aurelien Tchouameni in their defensive midfield setup, France could not avoid Portugal finding gaps for attacking runs. The likes of Vitinha and Nuno Mendes continuously made inside switches while making attacking runs, with Kante and Tchouameni hardly being able to block the pathway.

A troublesome sight for coach Didier Deschamps, who will know that a repetition of the same in their semi-final clash against Spain on July 10 will spell trouble in bold letters.

Source: India Today

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