Portugal 2-2 France: Ronaldo, Benzema settle thriller

Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema bagged … The post Portugal 2-2 France: Ronaldo, Benzema settle thriller appeared first on Football365.

Portugal 2-2 France: Ronaldo, Benzema settle thriller

Cristiano Ronaldo struck a brace of penalties to equal Ali Daei’s record of international goals and earn Portugal a 2-2 draw with France which booked them a place in the knockout phase of Euro 2020.

The Juventus forward scored from the spot in each half to ensure the current holders remain in the competition following a thrilling night of Group F action.

It was Ronaldo’s old club-colleague at Real Madrid, , who had put Portugal on the verge of exiting the tournament before referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz awarded another penalty in Budapest.



With Germany only able to , France topped the ‘group of death’ with a tally of five points following a back and forth encounter at the Puskas Arena.

Next up for the world champions is Switzerland while will travel to Seville to take on Belgium in a mouth-watering last-16 clash.

After two early efforts from Ronaldo were sandwiched between Kylian Mbappe being denied by Rui Patricio, Fernando Santos’ side were given the chance to take the lead in the 27th minute.

France captain Hugo Lloris was penalised for catching Danilo Pereira with a punch from a cross and after the defender was able to leave the pitch on his feet, it was over to the Portugal captain.

Ronaldo made no mistake, smashing home his 108th international goal to briefly put the European Championship holders top of Group F in the repeat of the 2016 final.

It was shortlived with Paul Pogba central to France winning their own spot-kick on the verge of half-time when his pass into Mbappe saw Nelson Semedo drawn into bringing down the Paris St Germain attacker.

Benzema took responsibility and found the net in the second minute of stoppage time for his first international goal in almost six years after he was handed a surprise recall following a lengthy absence ahead of the tournament.

And when Benzema collected another wonderful Pogba pass in the 47th minute and slotted beyond Patricio, Portugal were suddenly heading out with VAR able to overturn the initial decision to rule out the goal for offside.

Ronaldo, as he often does, had the final say with the talisman winning his country a second spot-kick when his cross hit the arm of Jules Kounde.

Ronaldo again sent Lloris the wrong way to tie level with Iran great Daei’s record of 109 international goals.

There was no further drama with Patricio producing a crucial double save with 23 minutes left, firstly tipping Pogba’s 25-yard curler onto the post before he saved Antoine Griezmann’s follow-up effort from inside the area.

After news filtered through that Germany had equalised against Hungary, it meant France and Portugal could slightly breathe easier with both all but confirmed of a place in the knockout stage.

The full-time whistle followed which meant Switzerland awaited France in Bucharest on Monday while Portugal faced Belgium a day earlier.

The post Portugal 2-2 France: Ronaldo, Benzema settle thriller appeared first on Football365.

Source : Football 365 More   

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Group F-***ing ridiculous as England peek into the carnage

Germany started the day second in … The post Group F-***ing ridiculous as England peek into the carnage appeared first on Football365.

Group F-***ing ridiculous as England peek into the carnage

Euro 2020 had been excellent while lacking something in the groups. England watched the carnage between Germany, France, Portugal and Hungary.

 

For the opening 11 minutes it was a date with  and a week of uncomfortable war references. Then thoughts switched towards a meeting with Cristiano Ronaldo and a game soaked in mid-2000s disappointment. It was not long until the dread of hosting the world champions came to the fore. And for a quarter of an hour the fanbase was split between salivating at the prospect of a plum tie with a relative minnow and recalling those painfully hubristic memories of Iceland five years ago.

The wheel spun for an agonising hour and a half without stopping, jolting with each Ronaldo penalty and jerking every time Karim Benzema turned his international drought into a quenched thirst. Adam Szalai, Kai Havertz, Andras Schafer and Leon Goretzka certainly added to a ludicrous evening with their contributions in Munich. England were pulled from Germany to Portugal to France to Hungary like an innocent child being dragged to see grandparents of a fractured family over Christmas. By the time it came to unwrapping their last-16 gift it was Joachim Low sniffing his fingers and eagerly waiting to see the mixed reaction.

Germany started and finished the day second in Group F but that tells a minute fraction of the whole story. They were minutes from being eliminated altogether and a goal away from finishing top. Hungary were dealt a 2 and a 7 of different suits with the draw but still almost gambled their way through against three opponents with pocket aces.

None of these teams should scare England yet each of them would have caused trepidation. This France team is packed with so much individual quality it can transcend a poorly executed game plan ostensibly designed to contain and control. Portugal are defensively suspect but possess the second greatest scorer in the history of men’s international football; Ali Daei is still clinging on for relevance by virtue of his goals-per-game record. Germany are no easier to decipher than before the tournament started. Hungary have held their own and bloodied a few noses on their way out.

The sensational drama was matched with moments of genuine brilliance across both anxiety-inducing games. During the opening stages in Budapest, had slipped Kylian Mbappe behind the Portugal defence but his attempted finish was thwarted by Rui Patricio. The Manchester United midfielder would repeat what is becoming Euro 2020’s greatest and most effective trick twice more: playing Mbappe in to win a penalty on the stroke of half-time, then slotting Benzema in behind Ruben Dias to complete a France comeback that barely seemed possible at points in a sluggish, static first half.

He was not even the best midfielder on the pitch, and although at this point N’Golo Kante tends to enter the conversation, he barely even made the podium in that regard. Instead this was a game dominated by Renato Sanches, who is presumably planning on retiring from club football and World Cups to play exclusively at the European Championship. His performances at Euro 2016 were stunning but after five challenging years finding his feet, this summer has been even more impressive.

A Ligue Un title with Lille has restored the confidence levels of a supreme talent. So often he would carry the ball by himself from deep as opponents bounced off a forcefield of brilliance. Early in the second half he sauntered past three France players before laying the ball off to Ronaldo, who promptly misplaced his own pass. A tornado could have struck at the Ferenc Puskas Stadium and he would still have emerged with the ball at his magnetic, balletic feet.


OPINION:


Antonio Mateu Lahoz tried his utmost to upstage the 23-year-old, awarding three penalties that varied in worthiness. Hugo Lloris inadvertently testing the structural integrity of Danilo’s jaw was fairly punished, while Jules Kounde’s handball was prime You’ve Seen Them Given material despite still feeling a little harsh. Nelson Semedo, markedly improved from his undressing at the hands of Robin Gosens a few days ago, should consider himself unfortunate for existing when Mbappe was nearby and at full foreboding sprint.

When Ronaldo dispatched his second penalty on the hour mark there was a sense that they were happy with their lot. Joao Palhinha managed their only shot thereafter. France pushed a little more for a winner and forced Rui Patricio into a phenomenal double save from Pogba and Antoine Griezmann, but when news filtered through of a Germany draw that sent all three favourites through, Les Bleus were content to pass it around the defence.

Germany players celebrate

The Disgrace of Gijon this was not. It was more the emotion, the tension, the ridiculousness of four countries, playing in stadia separated by 400 miles but united by the sheer drama of knockout-style football in a tournament that has lacked such a quality for most of its bloated group stage. UEFA have but this was amazing. Goretzka sent at least part of the message they dared not to with his pertinent celebrations at a time of pandemonium.

The one real regret, viewing the aftermath through an England prism, is what comes next. Not in terms of facing Germany but rather a build-up that will incorporate 1966, sunbeds, yet more mentions of Euro ’96, probably some Brexit stuff, a few references to Euro ’96, pizza, ‘Krauts’, some talk of Euro ’96 and Gareth Southgate being asked about missing penalties for every waking second of the next week.

For now, it is time to bask in the pure carnage and chaos of Euro 2020’s group-stage encore. One regular day of Alipay, that’s all we ask for. But this will do.

The post Group F-***ing ridiculous as England peek into the carnage appeared first on Football365.

Source : Football 365 More   

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