And without Mbappé in penalties! France eliminated Portugal, goodbye Cristiano

And without Mbappé in penalties! France eliminated Portugal, goodbye Cristiano
And without Mbappé in penalties! France eliminated Portugal, goodbye Cristiano
EuroCup 2024

Mbappé missed the final, Cristiano did not fail and continues on his way to the semi-finals

France vs Belgium
Photo: Ozan Kose/AFP


Futbolred Editorial Team

July 5, 2024, 04:44 p.m.

Goodbye Cristiano Ronaldo from Euro 2024. Will he play for another four years? No one should be surprised, because he is not one to leave without a fight. But this time he didn’t.

Portugal and France did not engage in a duel of ironclad defence, far from it. They attacked each other, they attacked each other, they encouraged each other but, as happened throughout the Euro, they lacked aim. That is why the 90 minutes ended 0-0 and they had to go to extra time and penalties: the French qualified in a mind-blowing penalty shoot-out, without Mbappé and with only one missed penalty.

First it was Dembélé who scored for France; Cristino followed up by fighting his ghosts and scoring; it was Fofana who also scored, as did Bernardo Silva although they guessed he would; Koundé nailed it in the corner, but the much-boasted Joao Felix hit the post and put pressure on; it was Barcola who took his turn and did not miss and Nuno Mendes was under pressure to score or cry and did the first; it was Theo Hernández’s turn and Mbappé suffered on the line but unnecessarily because his friend scored and France qualified for the semi-finals.

It was a rather cautious start, with the first few minutes being examined, with the effort being measured considering how so many games in this competition have gone into extra time and, apart from Bruno’s attempt in the 16th minute, with little excitement in the goal area.

But the second half brought relief. First Bruno missed a chance with a luxury assist from Cancelo, who put in a three-finger pass into space and his friend crossed the ball but it was just a few centimetres away from going in. In the next play, the ball was left dancing in the area when Bruno tried again and there was just a very narrow penalty against Cristiano Ronaldo, who was lurking in the action.

And then France was finally France thanks to the Dembele effect, who had just come on for Griezmann, who activated the attack. Díaz’s close was phenomenal at Kolo Muani’s feet when he put in a fabulous shot on goal and even better the effect on Mbappé, who made his debut with a high shot in the 73rd minute that went almost kissing the post.

Camavinga had another chance, but he missed a shot from Pepe that went wide, and Dembelé and Kanté tried again in a team that had seemed different since the ‘mosquito’ came on.

In Portugal, Cristiano Ronaldo was forgiving, as he was throughout the Euros, when Kolo Muani closed him down in time and time passed without them doing any damage to each other, despite how much they showed their teeth.

France were on the attack in extra time with another attempt by Grizmann, a very clear one by Mbappé, a foul by Fofana that gave Cristiano another chance to miss and, in the 101st minute, a clear attempt by Leao… Doesn’t it seem incredible that so many brilliant names went more than 100 minutes without scoring a goal? And yes…

But what nobody saw coming was that at half-time, France lost Mbappé to a possible penalty shoot-out. The boy took off his captain’s armband and turned to Kanté before sitting on the bench with ice on his face. That fracture was bothering him again.

The clock kept ticking, there were few chances at the end and the decision was decided by penalties.

It was all so close that it cannot be said that there was merit: the one who won and qualified was the one who made the fewest mistakes.

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