Les Bleus edge through on penalty-kicks

Hernández score winning penalty as France edged past Portugal in their UEFA EURO 2024 quarter-final.

France booked themselves a UEFA EURO semi-final date against Spain after defeating Portugal on penalties following a 0-0 draw after extra time in Hamburg.

Portugal had beaten Slovenia on penalties in the round of 16, but were unable to repeat the feat this time as Les Bleus edged a tight contest.

After a back-and-forth opening, Portugal midfielder Bruno Fernandes had the game’s first proper attempt, his strike from distance deflecting narrowly beyond Mike Maignan’s post.

France full-back Theo Hernández followed that up with a stinging drive from just outside the box, which Diogo Costa managed to tip away from danger.

A cagey first half was followed by more of the same in the early stages of the second, until Fernandes broke through on goal just after the hour mark, his low attempt well saved by Maignan before João Cancelo curled over the bar.

Suddenly Portugal had the momentum, and Maignan again stood tall to repel Vitinha’s instinctive effort as the midfielder stabbed towards goal from Rafael Leão’s cross.

The game was opening up, and it looked for all the world as though Randal Kolo Muani would break the deadlock against the run of play when he was put through, only for a heroic sliding Rúben Dias block to deny him at the last.

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After that flurry of chances, defences got back on top and extra time was inevitable. It also looked likely that Cristiano Ronaldo would convert from close range in the 94th minute, but Bernardo Silva’s cross was just behind him and he could only blast over.

The contest went to penalties, and after João Félix struck the post with Portugal’s third attempt, Theo Hernández made no mistake to send the France fans delirious and confirm a last-four clash with Spain in Munich on Tuesday.

Line-ups

Portugal: Diogo Costa; Cancelo (Semedo 74), Pepe, Rúben Dias, Nuno Mendes; Vitinha (Matheus Nunes 119), Palhinha (Rúben Neves 90+2), Bruno Fernandes (Francisco Conceição 74); Bernardo Silva, Ronaldo, Rafael Leão (João Félix 106)

France: Maignan; Koundé, Upamecano, Saliba, Hernández; Kanté, Tchouameni, Camavinga (Fofana 91); Kolo Muani (Thuram 86), Griezmann (Dembélé 67), Mbappé (Barcola 106)

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