Euro 2024: Portugal overpower Slovenia on penalties to book QF place


Frankfurt, July 2 (IANS) Portugal goalkeeper Diogo Costa denied three penalties in the shootout to eliminate a stubborn Slovenia 3-0 in their Euro 2024 last 16 match at Frankfurt’s Deutsche-Bank-Park late on Monday.

Portugal dominated possession from the kickoff, pressing Slovenia onto the back foot in the opening stages.

However, Robert Martinez’s men struggled to convert their dominance into goals, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes both missing close-range opportunities, reports Xinhua.

Slovenia defended resolutely, keeping all their players behind the ball. Ronaldo had a chance from a promising free-kick position at the half-hour mark but sent it over the target.

In the closing stages of the first half, Slovenia could have caught Portugal flatfooted, but Petar Stojanovic opted for a square pass instead of taking a shot on goal.

Portugal continued to be the more active team after the restart, while Slovenia remained largely passive.

Slovenia’s goalkeeper, Jan Oblak, frustrated Ronaldo by neutralizing a free kick in the 55th minute and a dangerous long-range shot in the closing period.

In extra time, Ronaldo had a golden opportunity to break the deadlock when Diogo was fouled inside the box. However, he couldn’t beat Oblak from the penalty spot in the 105th minute.

Slovenia showed signs of life in the 115th minute but missed a crucial chance when Benjamin Sesko failed to beat Diogo Costa in a one-on-one situation.

After a goalless draw, the match went to a penalty shootout. Ronaldo finally beat Oblak from the spot to open the scoring.

Goalkeeper Diogo Costa then single-handedly helped Portugal progress by denying penalties from Josip Ilicic, Jure Balkovec, and Benjamin Verbic. Bernardo Silva sealed the victory with his successful penalty.

With this result, Portugal will face France in the quarterfinals at Hamburg’s Volksparkstadion.

“I was sad and then happy. It went back and forth, but that’s football. It is all or nothing. I tried to clinch the win for my team, but I failed to do so. I was unhappy, nonetheless, Oblak saved well today. We had to work hard, but we are through now. I think it is a deserved win as Slovenia defended only,” said Ronaldo.



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