HomeSportsPortugal, France face off in Euro 2024 quarterfinals

Portugal, France face off in Euro 2024 quarterfinals

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Portugal and France are set to clash in the European Championship quarterfinals on Friday, featuring a highly anticipated head-to-head between soccer stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappé.

The winner of this match will advance to the semifinals to face either Spain or the host nation, Germany. Kickoff is at 9 p.m. local time (1900 GMT) in Hamburg.

Both teams entered the tournament as pre-tournament favorites but have yet to fully convince. Portugal has struggled offensively, failing to score in its last two matches—a 2-0 loss to Georgia and a 0-0 draw with Slovenia, which they won in a penalty shootout. France, on the other hand, has yet to score in open play at Euro 2024. Their goals have come from two own-goals and a penalty by Mbappé.

READ ALSO: Mbappe signs five-year deal with Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo, appearing in his record sixth European Championship, has not scored yet and was seen in tears after having a penalty saved in extra time against Slovenia. If the 39-year-old striker scores in this match, he will become the oldest scorer in the tournament’s history.

Mbappé, who will be wearing a protective mask due to a broken nose sustained in France’s group opener against Austria, has been a key player for France. Coach Didier Deschamps mentioned that Mbappé might need to wear the mask for “months.”

The match falls exactly 18 years after the two nations met in the 2006 World Cup semifinals, where Zinedine Zidane scored the winning penalty. Ronaldo played the full match then, and the player of the match was Lilian Thuram, whose son, Marcus Thuram, is likely to feature for France in Hamburg.

France has conceded only one goal at Euro 2024, a retaken penalty by Poland’s Robert Lewandowski. Mbappé, 25, has scored 48 goals for France, but he still has a long way to catch up to Ronrecord of record 130 international goals.

This quarterfinal marks the third consecutive meeting between Portugal and France at a European Championship. In the 2021 tournament, they drew 2-2 in the group stage, with Ronaldo scoring two penalties, and Portugal won 1-0 in the 2016 final.

Reactions concerning the game

Ronaldo, set to make a record 212th appearance for Portugal, has taken 20 shots without scoring at Euro 2024. Despite this, his teammates remain supportive and determined.

“There is only one Cristiano Ronaldo; there will only ever be one. I am following my own path,” said France captain Kylian Mbappé.

“It’s not about Kylian and Cristiano. It’s about Portugal and France. But definitely two unbelievable players at different stages of their careers,” noted Portugal midfielder Bernardo Silva.

“This is Ronaldo’s last Euro. We’ve got everything we need to give him this gift and we’re going to do everything we can,” declared Portugal left-back Nuno Mendes.

“We will have a difficult match against France. I will always do my best for this shirt; I’ve never been afraid to face things head on, and giving up is something you’ll never hear from me.” – Ronaldo

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