Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema shine as France finish as Group F winners, Portugal qualify with draw - EURO 2020
|Kylian Mbappe and his idol Cristiano Ronaldo all smiles after Portugal played a 2-2 draw with France as both teams book their place in EURO 2020 last 16.|
In yet another night of individual records, Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice from the penalty spot to cancel out Karim Benzema's treble and guarantee Portugal through to the round of 16 alongside Group F winners France.
France had already confirmed their place in the last 16 ahead of a rematch of the 2016 final, but Portugal, coming off a 4-2 loss to Germany, couldn't afford another setback.
Ronaldo had a pair of early half-chances in a cagey start, and it wasn't long before the Portuguese captain was on the scoresheet after Hugo Lloris felled Danilo, swaggering up to the penalty spot and hammering in his first-ever goal against Les Bleus on 31 minutes.
Portugal appeared to be at ease as they sat deep.
France, on the other hand, struck back on the stroke of half-time.
Kylian Mbappé was sent to the ground in the Portuguese box and won the game's second spot-kick, which Benzema converted with ease.
Benzema scored his second of the night from Paul Pogba's exquisite through ball immediately after the break, and France appeared to have turned the game around.
With Hungary leading in Munich, Portugal were on their way out until Jules Koundé handled the ball inside the area.
Ronaldo inevitably scored the leveller and equalled Ali Daei's all-time international world record of 109 goals.
As the final whistle approached, Fernando Santos' side managed to cling on to a place in the EURO 2020 round of 16 alongside France as one of the four best third-place teams.
Man of the Match: Karim Benzema (France)
What the players and managers said
Fernando Santos, Portugal coach: "What I really liked was the team's collective behaviour. When I was asked what we had to do that was different from the game against Germany and I said it was to be like ourselves. We were strong, consistent, with a great spirit. We can continue to improve. In the second half we didn't start well but we regrouped."
Diogo Dalot, Portugal defender: "We knew it was a very difficult game against a very strong opponent. We managed to responded to the goal conceded, I made my debut, and to top it off with qualifying was very good – a perfect night. We'll have time to analyse Belgium but the most important thing now is to recharge our batteries."
Rúben Neves, Portugal midfielder: "We are champions of Europe. We knew we could do better. Once again I thank the fans; it was an amazing atmosphere here in Hungary. The most important thing is that we are at the next stage. We went through a difficult period, we responded well. France were never on top, we controlled the match well."
Didier Deschamps, France coach: "It was a fight and it wasn’t easy. We gave them the two goals from mistakes. We tried to win it. It means we’re top and that’s the best position. We’re going to enjoy that and recover now as a new competition is starting."
Karim Benzema, France forward: "I never doubted myself, but I knew there were expectations of me from the country. I managed to score and I’m going to savour it with everybody."
Paul Pogba, France midfielder: "We're satisfied and the most important thing was to top the group. We managed that in a group that wasn't easy. We know we need to improve."