Friday’s Euro 2024 quarterfinal between powerhouses Portugal and France evokes memories of the 2016 showpiece at Hamburg’s Volksparkstadion.

Cristiano Ronaldo-led Portugal secured a dramatic victory over Slovenia in a tense penalty shootout.

Meanwhile, Kylian Mbappe’s Les Bleus managed a narrow 1-0 win over Belgium, though they were far from their dominant best.

Portugal faced Slovenia in a gripping Euro 2024 encounter that tested both sides’ mettle.

Despite his efforts, Ronaldo’s quest for a goal in this tournament continued to elude him, thwarted notably by Jan Oblak’s heroic save from the Selecao superstar’s extra-time penalty attempt.

The match unfolded with emotional intensity, Ronaldo visibly moved as the game progressed.

Bolstered by their defensive resolve, Slovenia held off Portugal’s advances in the final 15 minutes of extra time.

However, it was a different story when it came down to penalties.

Portugal’s goalkeeper, Diogo Costa, emerged as the hero of the hour, making history as the first male goalkeeper to save three penalties in a European Championship shootout.

His stellar performance propelled the 2016 champions into the quarterfinals, overshadowing his teammates’ struggles against Matjaz Kek’s determined Slovenian squad.

Having surpassed their previous Euro 2020 exit, Portugal face a daunting semifinal prospect against either Spain or Germany, pending their clash with France in Hamburg.

Despite their recent scoring challenges, notably being held scoreless in their last two Euro 2024 outings and suffering a surprise defeat to Georgia in the group stage, Fernando Santos’ side remains resilient.

Their upcoming opponents, however, have also faced scrutiny for their offensive performance, setting the stage for a fiercely competitive path forward in the tournament.

After four matches, Les Bleus have yet to score a goal from open play, yet Didier Deschamps’s squad finds themselves in the quarterfinals once more, casting aside the disappointment of Euro 2020.

Following a lackluster group stage showing where their goals came from an Austria defender, Maximilian Wober, and a Kylian Mbappe penalty, France faced Belgium, blending youthful talent with a heralded “golden generation.”

The match was decided by a member of the latter, with Randal Kolo Muani’s shot deflecting off Jan Vertonghen in the 85th minute, sealing Belgium’s fate in Dusseldorf.

Despite Les Bleus’ struggles in attack, Deschamps could draw satisfaction from another stellar defensive display, securing their third clean sheet in four Euro 2024 matches. Robert Lewandowski’s penalty for Poland remains the sole goal conceded by France in their last six outings.

While the Ronaldo-Mbappe showdown grabs headlines, it’s worth recalling Eder’s less heralded but decisive goal in Portugal’s historic Euro 2016 final victory over France.

However, that remains Portugal’s sole win in their last 13 encounters against Les Bleus, including a memorable 2-2 draw in the 2021 group stage clash that featured three penalties.


Martinez and the Portugal medical staff will conduct thorough checks on their players who completed a grueling 120 minutes on Monday.

As of now, there are no serious fitness concerns for the 2016 champions ahead of the quarterfinals.

Looking ahead to Friday’s match, Ronaldo is set to earn his 212th cap, a milestone in his illustrious career.

Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo (L) reacts during the UEFA Euro 2024 round of 16 match against Slovenia at Frankfurt Arena, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, July 1, 2024. (Getty Images Photo)

Despite firing 20 shots on goal without finding the net in this tournament, he joins a select few in Euro history who have faced similar droughts.

The lineup may see Diogo Jota and Francisco Conceicao being considered for starting roles, while Silva and Rafael Leao have solidified their places in the Selecao attack. Vitinha and Joao Palhinha are expected to retain their positions in midfield without jeopardy.

Meanwhile, France faces a necessary change as Adrien Rabiot, now a free agent after his Juventus contract expired, is suspended following his second yellow card in the last-16 victory over Belgium.

Deschamps has options to replace Rabiot, including Ousmane Dembele, Eduardo Camavinga, Youssouf Fofana or Warren Zaire-Emery, depending on tactical preferences.

The only likely absentee for Les Bleus could be Kingsley Coman, who, like Phil Foden earlier in the tournament, has departed the squad for the birth of his child.

Rabiot played a pivotal role in a midfield diamond formation for Les Bleus in Dusseldorf, supporting Marcus Thuram alongside Mbappe. However, Inter Milan’s striker was substituted after an hour and may be at risk of losing his starting spot to Kolo Muani.

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