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Euro 2024: Epic penalty drama for Ronaldo ends with Portugal beating Slovenia in knockout shootout

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after scoring in penalties shootouts during a round of sixteen match between Portugal and Slovenia at Euro 2024
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after scoring in penalties shootouts during a round of sixteen match between Portugal and Slovenia at Euro 2024 Copyright Matthias Schrader/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Matthias Schrader/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews with AP
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Portugal nearly got knocked out as Slovenia's Šeško missed a giant opportunity in the extra-time.

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A game of epic personal drama and tears for Cristiano Ronaldo ended with his Portugal making it to the Euro 2024 quarter-finals after beating Slovenia in a penalty shootout on Monday.

Ronaldo's extra-time spot kick in the 114th minute was saved by Slovenia goalkeeper Jan Oblak, to set up for a heartstopping end of the game following the extra-time 0-0.

When they went to penalties, Portugal's goalkeeper Diogo Costa saved all three of Slovenia's kicks, from Josip Ilicic, Jure Balkovec and Benjamin Verbič, while Ronaldo redeemed himself by netting the first Portuguese penalty of the session.

Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva also scored for Portugal to seal the shootout 3-0 with two shots to spare.

A half-hour earlier, Ronaldo was distraught and crying at halftime in extra time after his penalty was saved by Oblak, diving to his left to push the ball against a post.

Portugal will now face France in the quarterfinals on Friday in Hamburg, a rematch of the 2016 final that Portugal won in Paris.

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after missing a chance to score a goal against Slovenia during a round of sixteen match between Portugal and Slovenia
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after missing a chance to score a goal against Slovenia during a round of sixteen match between Portugal and Slovenia AP/Michael Probst

The intense extra-time drama followed an intensely frustrating first 90 minutes for Ronaldo, who was still looking for his first goal at Euro 2024.

After three free kicks and two mistimed headers, the Portugal Ballon d'Or winner seemed sure to score with his first clear shooting chance in open play.

It came in the 89th, when he ran clear on goal with the ball passed perfectly into his stride. The left-foot shot was low and powerful but Oblak’s block was better. Ronaldo held out his arms in exasperation yet again.

The intense drama for Ronaldo almost overwhelmed the troubled evening for Slovenia’s emerging star.

Benjamin Šeško had golden chances to win the game, in the 62nd and 115th minutes, going one-on-one with Portugal goalie Costa after racing past 41-year-old defender Pepe.

The first was a weak shot that screwed wide of goal, and the second was powerful and accurate and saved by the outstretched boot of Costa.

Portugal's players celebrate after winning the penalties shootouts of a round of sixteen match between Portugal and Slovenia
Portugal's players celebrate after winning the penalties shootouts of a round of sixteen match between Portugal and Slovenia AP/Ariel Schalit

France land quarter-finals thanks to Belgium own-goal

Kylian Mbappé and France advanced to the Euro 2024 quarterfinals after Randal Kolo Muani's deflected shot secured a 1-0 win over Belgium on Monday in Düsseldorf.

Kolo Muani sent in an effort in the 85th minute that looped up off Belgium defender Jan Vertonghen and over stranded goalkeeper Koen Casteels.

Mbappé, again wearing a mask to protect his broken nose, had five shots but none were on target in a match that was perhaps less spectacular than expected, although France seemed to do more with 19 shots against 5 from the Belgians.

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France confirmed their positive trend against neighbouring Belgium, winning all previous games against them at major tournaments, most notably the 2018 World Cup semifinal, leading up to France's final victory.

Despite reaching the quarter-finals, the small amount of goals netted at Euro 2024 - only three in four games, including an own goal and a penalty - remains a worrying signal for France.

Randal Kolo Muani of France shoots at goal to cause Belgium's Jan Vertonghen, right, to score an own goal during a round of sixteen match France-Belgium
Randal Kolo Muani of France shoots at goal to cause Belgium's Jan Vertonghen, right, to score an own goal during a round of sixteen match France-BelgiumAP/Darko Vojinovic

'I tried everything I could', says Belgium's captain De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne stood, hands on hips, and tried to take it all in.

Belgium flunked another major international tournament - an all-too-familiar feeling for one of the remaining members of his country's so-called golden generation.

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“I tried to do everything I could,” De Bruyne said. "This is not what we wanted, but although we were not one of the favourites, we let ourselves down in the match against Slovakia.”

Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne gestures after missing a chance during a round of sixteen match between France and Belgium at Euro 2024
Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne gestures after missing a chance during a round of sixteen match between France and Belgium at Euro 2024 AP/Hassan Ammar

“An hour after the final whistle and conceding a late own goal, it’s hard to go into an analysis,” Belgium's coach Domenico Tedesco said. But he may face questions over his tactics against a French side that have hardly been convincing at these Euros.

FIFA No. 3-ranked Belgians showed limited ambition against a team only one place above them. De Bruyne was deployed in a more defensive role and France dominated the chances.

Pressure finally took its toll when French substitute Randal Kolo Muani's shot deflected off Jan Vertonghen in the 85th minute at Duesseldorf Arena for the winning goal.

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How the quarter-finals look like so far

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