In a tense and dramatic Euro 2024 quarter-final clash, France emerged victorious over Portugal in a penalty shoot-out following a goalless draw in Hamburg on Friday. This victory propels France into the semi-finals, where they will face Spain, who earlier triumphed over Germany.

The match itself was largely uneventful, with both teams struggling to create clear chances over the 120 minutes of play. Despite the high stakes, the encounter lacked the flair and excitement typically associated with these two footballing giants. The deadlock persisted through regular time and into extra time, leaving the outcome to be decided by penalties.

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During the shoot-out, Joao Felix became the unfortunate sole player to miss, with his effort being saved by the formidable French goalkeeper Mike Maignan. France’s Theo Hernandez then stepped up and confidently slotted home the winning spot-kick, securing France’s place in the semi-finals.

Cristiano Ronaldo, the legendary Portuguese forward, successfully converted his penalty. However, this tournament marked a significant milestone, as it was the first time the 39-year-old had failed to score a goal at a major international tournament, highlighting a shift in the veteran player’s impact on the global stage.

The match itself saw few moments of genuine threat. The first half was particularly uneventful, with both sides cautious and unable to break through the opposing defenses. It wasn’t until the second half that the game saw some sparks of action. France’s goalkeeper Mike Maignan made crucial saves to deny Bruno Fernandes and Vitinha, showcasing his reliability and reflexes under pressure.

France had their best chance of the match when Eduardo Camavinga found himself in a promising position, only to shoot wide and squander the opportunity. Kylian Mbappe, one of France’s key players, struggled to make an impact and was eventually withdrawn at half-time in extra time. He appeared to be hampered by the mask he has been wearing since suffering a broken nose in France’s opening game against Austria.

Earlier in the day, Spain secured their semi-final spot with a dramatic 2-1 victory over Germany. The match reached its climax in the dying moments of extra time, when Mikel Merino scored a decisive header in the 119th minute, sealing the win for Spain.

As the tournament progresses, the anticipation builds for the upcoming semi-final between France and Spain. Both teams have demonstrated resilience and tenacity to reach this stage, and the clash promises to be a thrilling encounter between two footballing powerhouses.

For Portugal, the loss is a bitter pill to swallow, especially given the efforts and expectations placed on their experienced squad. The team will now reflect on their performance and look to rebuild and come back stronger in future competitions.

France’s journey in Euro 2024 continues, and their fans will be hopeful that this victory on penalties can propel them to further success. With Spain standing in their way, the semi-final promises to be a captivating battle, with both teams vying for a coveted spot in the final.

As the tournament edges closer to its conclusion, the remaining matches are set to provide football fans with more moments of drama, skill, and excitement. The stage is set for an exhilarating finish to Euro 2024, with each team now just one step away from the ultimate prize.