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France eliminate Portugal from Euro 2024 in penalty shootout

France eliminate Portugal from Euro 2024 in penalty shootout

Portugal were eliminated from Euro 2024 after losing to France on penalties, and there was one moment where the game felt like it was lost.

France and Portugal were two of the big names to make it into the quarter-finals of Euro 2024, but their meeting could not have been further from a classic.

The Euro 2016 winners and the 2018 world champions produced an incredibly dull spectacle in Hamburg, devoid of quality, intensity and excitement.

None of the superstars on display lived up to their reputations, especially not Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappe.

To be fair to Portugal, they at least showed some attacking intent in the first period, creating some decent chances with their possession. France’s approach was to let their opponents have the ball and then try to catch them on the counter-attack.

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It was only when Didier Deschamps brought on Ousmane Dembele that the French sparked into life, but while the Paris Saint-Germain winger injected pace and dynamism into the French attacks, he couldn’t break the deadlock.

Midway through the second half the tie looked destined to go the distance, and that’s exactly what happened.

Perhaps surprisingly, both sides withdrew their best penalty takers well before the shootout; Roberto Martinez withdrew Bruno Fernandes with 74 minutes on the clock, before Mbappe – his broken nose clearly causing him grief – exited after the first period of extra-time.

In 480 minutes of football at Euro 2024, not a single French player scored from open play. Their two goals at the tournament came courtesy of an Austria own-foal and via a Mbappe penalty against Poland.

Yet despite losing Mbappe 15 minutes before the shootout, France prevailed without their best penalty taker.

Joao Felix’s miss proved costly as the French scored all five of their kicks to win 5-3 on penalties.

Had Portugal still had Bruno Fernandes on the pitch, perhaps things would have turned out differently.

 

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