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France Edges Past Portugal On Penalties To Reach Semis

  • July 6, 2024
  • 2 min read
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France Edges Past Portugal On Penalties To Reach Semis

Theo Hernandez converted the winning penalty as France edged past Portugal 5-3 in a tense Euro 2024 quarter-final that went to a shootout on Friday.

The match itself was a frustrating affair, lacking the spark expected from two sides boasting superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappe. Despite a scoreless 120 minutes, France managed to convert all their penalties after Joao Felix missed for Portugal.

This victory sets up a semi-final clash with Spain for France. For Portugal, the defeat likely marks the end of an era. While Cristiano Ronaldo scored his penalty, this could be his last major tournament appearance, echoing the 2016 final where Portugal defeated France. Pepe, another veteran at 41, also appeared emotional after the match, hinting at a possible international retirement.

Mbappe was substituted just before the second half of extra time after a blow to the face. Similar to Ronaldo, he was unable to significantly impact the game. Goalkeepers Mike Maignan and Diogo Costa were rarely tested throughout the match, with neither side creating many clear-cut opportunities.

Despite being one of the most anticipated fixtures of the tournament, the match failed to live up to expectations. Portugal seemed more active in the first 20 minutes, controlling possession but struggling to breach the French defense. A free-kick opportunity in the 43rd minute offered a glimpse of excitement, but Bruno Fernandes’ effort curled just over the bar. The first half ended scoreless, a reflection of the cautious approach from both sides.

The second half saw some increased attacking intent. Mbappe registered France’s first shot on target in the 50th minute, firing straight at the goalkeeper. Shortly after, Portugal created two promising opportunities within seconds. Fernandes’ shot was saved by Maignan, and Cancelo’s follow-up volley went wide.

After a full 90 minutes and stoppage time without a breakthrough, the match mirrored the first quarter-final, heading into extra time. Portugal continued to dominate possession in the first half of extra time, but their passing lacked direction and failed to create any real scoring chances. Ultimately, the game was decided on penalties, with France emerging victorious and securing their place in the semi-finals.

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Samkelo Biyela

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