Euro 2024: France edges Portugal on penalties to face Spain in semis


Berlin, July 6 (IANS) France progress on penalties after converting all five shots from the spot to eliminate Portugal 5-3 (0-0) in the Euro 2024 quarterfinals of in Hamburg’s Volkspark stadium on Friday.

France and Portugal staged an evenly balanced first half with chances at premium on both ends of the pitch.

The first half chances fell to Portugal with 16 minutes played, when Bruno Fernandes saw his promising effort on target blocked by defender William Saliba.

France created the best opportunity of the first half four minutes later when Theo Hernandez’ attempt from the distance to force Portugal goalkeeper Diogo Costa into action.

After the half-time, Portugal took the reins and came close at the hour mark after Joao Cancelo’s through ball found Fernandes, whose drilled effort is saved by Les Bleus custodian Mike Maignan.

Maignan remained busy as he was equal to Vitinhia’s powerful but central shot on target moments later.

France almost caught Portugal flat-footed in the 66th minute, but Ruben Dias blocked Randal Kolo Muani’s shot in the last nick of time.

Didier Deschamps’ men had more momentum in the closing stages but Eduardo Camavinga and Ousmane Dembele couldn’t turn their promising chances into a tangible reward.

In the overtime, Portugal was the more active team whereas France defended deep and waited for counterattacks. Joao Felix had the golden chance to snatch a late overtime winner, but he headed into the side netting from tight angle.

After goalless 120 minutes, the penalty shootout had to bring the decision. After two successful penalties for both sides, Felix missed and hit the left post with low shot. Hernandez clinched the win for France after making it 5-3 from the spot.

“It wasn’t easy today. We made our own life difficult, but we defended very well and kept a strong opponent at bay. We were not nervous during the shootout and won the match,” said France goalkeeper Maignan.

With the result, France will clash with Spain in the semifinal the at Munich’s Allianz Arena on Tuesday.



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