Penalty Shootout Decides: Portugal Knocks Out Slovenia

Portugal Advances After Dramatic Penalty Shootout Against Slovenia

Portugal’s journey in the Euro 2024 faced a challenging moment on Monday (01.07.2024) when they battled the underdog Slovenia in the Round of 16. The match concluded in a dramatic penalty shootout where Portugal triumphed, thanks to the heroic efforts of goalkeeper Diogo Costa.

In the penalty shootout, Costa saved three crucial shots from the Slovenian side, marking his standout performance. He expressed his joy, stating, “These are the great moments in football. I am so happy that I could help my team.” Ultimately, Portugal secured a 3-0 victory in the shootout, with successful penalties from Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, and Bernardo Silva. Ronaldo commented, “That’s football; it’s inexplicable.” He had missed a penalty during extra time but redeemed himself in the shootout. “The highs and lows of football – it’s what the game is all about,” he added.

For the valiant Slovenian team, the tournament ended with this defeat in the Round of 16. Jon Gorenc Stanković shared with Sportschau, “Everyone is really disappointed. We played well and can be proud of ourselves.” Portugal will face France in the quarterfinals on Friday evening (05.07.2024 at 9 PM).

Slovenia Deciphers Portugal’s Shifting Strategy

The Portuguese team dominated the early stages of the game, which was not surprising. By halftime, referee Daniele Orsato noted that Portugal had nearly 70% possession and won 60% of the duels, yet the scoreboard remained untouched. Portugal’s threats came mainly from their tactical overloads on one side of the pitch, creating a numerical advantage before switching play to the other side.

An example of this was seen in the 13th minute when Portugal attacked from the right. Bernardo Silva delivered a sharp cross with his left foot, narrowly missed by Cristiano Ronaldo and Vitinha. It took Slovenia about twenty minutes to better intercept these switches, allowing them to find their rhythm in the game.

Misfortune for Portugal: Palhinha Hits the Post

Despite creating more chances, Portugal struggled to convert them. One notable moment came in the 34th minute when Portugal was awarded a free-kick near the edge of the box. Ronaldo’s powerful shot just missed by centimeters, marking his best attempt before halftime. Frustration was evident as he frequently appeared on screen looking displeased, sometimes a step ahead or behind where he needed to be, often missing the crosses aimed at him. The closest Portugal came to scoring was João Palhinha’s shot from 18 meters hitting the left post in the 45th minute.

Slovenia’s first real chance came just before halftime with Benjamin Šeško’s long-range effort, easily saved by Costa.

Šeško’s Missed Opportunity for Slovenia

The second half saw Portugal maintaining their dominance. In the 55th minute, another free-kick near the penalty area saw Ronaldo stepping up again, but his shot was directed straight at Slovenian goalkeeper Jan Oblak. Six minutes later, the 39-year-old Ronaldo watched from a distance as 41-year-old Pepe raced against Slovenia’s 21-year-old Šeško. The Slovenian youngster managed to get past Pepe but stumbled, sending his shot wide of the goal.

Ronaldo’s Struggles Continue

As the regular time was about to end, Ronaldo had another chance from a Diogo Jota pass, but under pressure from a close Slovenian defender, his shot went directly to Oblak (89th minute).

Extra Time Drama: Ronaldo’s Missed Penalty

In extra time, a foul by Slovenia’s Vanja Drkušič on Diogo Jota resulted in a penalty for Portugal. Ronaldo stepped up but saw his shot saved by Oblak, diving to the right. Ronaldo covered his face with his hands and wept after the miss.

In the end, the penalty shootout saw Portugal through, ending the courageous journey of Slovenia in Euro 2024.