• Sunday, July 21, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Euro 2024: France defeat Portugal to face Spain in semi-finals

France-Theo-hernandez-

France beat Portugal 5-3 in a penalty shootout in the Euro 2024 quarter-finals after a tense showdown in Hamburg and set up a semi-final clash with Spain.

The defeat marked the end of Cristiano Ronaldo’s quest to win the title in his final appearance at the tournament.

Theo Hernández struck the winning penalty for France after Portugal’s Joao Felix hit the post in the shootout following a 0-0 draw. The decisive moment propelled Didier Deschamps’ side into the Euro 2024 semi-finals.

After the game finished goalless following extra time, Joao Felix’s missed penalty became the turning point, and Theo Hernández sealed the win with his successful kick.

The victory ended France’s recent misfortunes in penalty shootouts at major tournaments, including the last 16 at the Euros in 2021 and the 2022 World Cup final.

The 39-year-old Ronaldo, participating in his record sixth and final European Championship, scored Portugal’s first penalty in the shootout. Post-match, he consoled fellow veteran Pepe, who was visibly emotional.

“We need to go through this moment of our loss, which is very painful,” said Pepe.

The victory also erased recent heartbreaks for Kylian Mbappe and France in shootouts. Mbappe, who didn’t take a penalty in the shootout due to being substituted after the first half of extra time, had his broken nose covered by a protective mask.

Despite his absence, Les Bleus secured the win as Ousmane Dembele, Youssouf Fofana, Jules Kounde, and Bradley Barcola all converted their penalties before Hernandez’s decisive kick.

“It wasn’t easy,” France goalkeeper Mike Maignan said. “We didn’t always play that great, it was a complicated game. We played well defensively. We got to the penalty shootout and didn’t waver. We can be proud of ourselves.”

France will now face Spain in the semi-finals after Spain’s extra-time victory over Germany in Stuttgart. Les Bleus remain on course for a third European Championship title, having previously won in 1984 and 2000. Notably, no French player has scored from open play so far in the tournament.