Promotion
24 June, 2021

PORTUGAL 2-2 FRANCE

France claimed first place in Group F, though Portugal will join them in the round of 16 as one of the best third-placed teams.

Cristiano Ronaldo dispatched twice from the penalty spot – in yet another night of individual records – to cancel out Karim Benzema’s double and ensure Portugal advanced to the round of 16 alongside Group F winners France.

Match in brief

France had already confirmed their last-16 spot ahead of the 2016 final repeat, but in greater need of points, Portugal – fresh from a 4-2 loss to Germany – could not afford another defeat.

In a cagey opening, Ronaldo nevertheless sniffed out a couple of early half chances and it wasn’t long before the Portuguese captain was on the scoresheet after Hugo Lloris felled Danilo, swaggering up to the penalty spot to hammer in on 31 minutes – his first ever goal against Les Bleus.

Sitting deep, Portugal looked comfortable. However, on the stroke of half-time, France struck back. Sent to ground in the Portuguese box, Kylian Mbappé won the second spot kick of the match; Benzema converted with aplomb.

France looked to have turned the game around shortly after the restart, as Benzema squeezed in from Paul Pogba’s impeccable through ball. With Hungary ahead in Munich, Portugal were heading out until Jules Koundé handled the ball inside the area and Ronaldo inevitably fired his side back on terms – extending his EURO all-time scoring record to 14, as well as equalling Ali Daei’s all-time international world record of 109 goals.

As the final whistle loomed, Fernando Santos’ side managed cling on to progress with France to the EURO 2020 round of 16 as one of the four best third-place teams.

Star of the Match: Karim Benzema (France)

“For his two first goals at EURO and for the good movement on the second goal.”
Corinne Diacre, UEFA Technical Observer

Carlos Machado, Portugal reporter
In a thrilling game, Portugal managed to go through against title contenders France. Ronaldo left his mark again and the holders once more proved that they can compete with anyone, being both tactical and clinical when needed.

David Crossan, France reporter
Topping the group was France’s aim and they achieved that. With Benzema back on the goal trail, they will fancy their chances as they advance through the tournament, although they know they’ll have to improve and Deschamps may have a problem at left-back through a growing injury list.

Reaction

Fernando Santos, Portugal coach: “What I really liked was the team’s collective behaviour. When I was asked what we had to do that was different from the game against Germany and I said it was to be like ourselves. We were strong, consistent, with a great spirit. We can continue to improve. In the second half we didn’t start well but we regrouped.”

Diogo Dalot, Portugal defender: “We knew it was a very difficult game against a very strong opponent. We managed to responded to the goal conceded, I made my debut, and to top it off with qualifying was very good – a perfect night. We’ll have time to analyse Belgium but the most important thing now is to recharge our batteries.”

Rúben Neves, Portugal midfielder: “We are champions of Europe. We knew we could do better. Once again I thank the fans; it was an amazing atmosphere here in Hungary. The most important thing is that we are at the next stage. We went through a difficult period, we responded well. France were never on top, we controlled the match well.”

Didier Deschamps, France coach: “It was a fight and it wasn’t easy. We gave them the two goals from mistakes. We tried to win it. It means we’re top and that’s the best position. We’re going to enjoy that and recover now as a new competition is starting.”

Karim Benzema, France forward: “I never doubted myself, but I knew there were expectations of me from the country. I managed to score and I’m going to savour it with everybody.”

Paul Pogba, France midfielder: “We’re satisfied and the most important thing was to top the group. We managed that in a group that wasn’t easy. We know we need to improve.”

Published under Promotion on 24 June, 2021.

Latest update on 11 July, 2021.
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