France set up Spain semi with shootout win over Portugal

Theo Hernandez struck the winning penalty for France after Portugal’s Joao Felix had hit a post in the shootout following a 0-0 draw to send Didier Deschamps’ side into a Euro 2024 semi-final with Spain.

There were no tears this time from Cristiano Ronaldo, who had been overcome by emotion during Portugal’s last-16 win over Slovenia, but, despite converting his own spot-kick, the 39-year-old’s final Euros campaign ended in defeat. He was left to console outstanding 41-year-old team-mate Pepe at the end of it all.

Ronaldo was on the fringes for much of the cagey contest, although both sides will feel they could have won it in the second half of normal time. France’s Mike Maignan produced two sharp stops to keep out Bruno Fernandes and Vitinha before smothering Ronaldo’s follow-up backheel, while Randal Kolo Muani saw his shot blocked by Ruben Dias at the other end before Eduardo Camavinga scuffed beyond the far post from close range.

Impact sub Ousmane Dembele grazed a post in the final moments of the 90 but extra-time saw these recent European champions err on the side of caution. A half-chance for Ronaldo was hacked over as Pepe and Dayot Upamecano celebrated blocks like goals.

France yet to score from open play

France have reached the Euro 2024 semi-finals without scoring a single open play goal. Their goals have come from two own goals and a penalty.

The major talking point of that extra period was Kylian Mbappe coming off at half-time, having sustained a blow to his face earlier in the match. France’s star man – masked and nursing that broken nose – must have been in serious discomfort to step off the pitch before the shootout but his compatriots were perfect from 12 yards.

Joao Felix was the only player to miss, whacking his effort against an upright, which presented Hernandez with the chance to send France into the final four and a showdown with Spain in Munich on Tuesday.

Analysis: Ronaldo centre stage again – but was this his curtain call?

Cristiano Ronaldo takes on Theo Hernandez
Cristiano Ronaldo takes on Theo Hernandez

Even with superstar Kylian Mbappe on the pitch, attention is drawn towards Cristiano Ronaldo. His penalty shootout spot-kick summed up the theatre which surrounds him. The dramatic intake of breath. The staggered run-up. And the big celebration when he impressively thumped the ball in.

But while he may have played his part in Portugal’s two shootouts in the knockout stages of these Euros, his contributions during normal play have been less convincing. He was isolated here and spurned the half-chances when they did come his way.

Ronaldo goes goalless

For the first time in his career, Cristiano Ronaldo has failed to score at a major international tournament. He had scored at the other 10 he had played in.

With Portugal failing to link up in the final third, Goncalo Ramos – who famously scored a hat-trick when he replaced Ronaldo as a starter at the World Cup – and Diogo Jota were sat on the bench presumably wondering when they would get a go. The nod from Roberto Martinez never came.

The Portugal manager stood by Ronaldo until the very last. And perhaps this will be the final time we see him at a major tournament. His final Euros has ended without an in-game goal and a demonstration – to observers from outside the Portugal camp at least – that it is time to move on to the next generation.

Team news

  • Portugal were unchanged from the shootout win over Slovenia, with Cristiano Ronaldo again leading the line.
  • Randal Kolo Muani made his first start of the tournament in place of Marcus Thuram, while Eduardo Camavinga took Adrien Rabiot’s place in midfield.

Stats: Story of the match

Who plays who in the semi-finals?

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