Diogo Jota made his third start of the tournament in Portugal’s final game of the group stage – a showdown with a much-fancied French team.
Portugal needed something going into this game to cement their place into the next round of the tournament. Fresh from his goal and assist against Germany, there was a hope that Jota might be able to step up for his country once again.
The Liverpool man did not see too much of the ball in the first half, despite both sides having their chances.
It was a game decided largely by penalties. In the 28th minute after a deep free-kick was whipped in, Hugo Lloris came out to punch but ended up catching Danilo Pereira with a hefty blow, leaving referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz with little choice but to point to the spot.
Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up to fire home confidently, putting Portugal in a position where they might win the group if Hungary held on to their unlikely lead in Munich.
However, France equalised through a spot kick of their own after Kylian Mbappé was brought down by Wolves’ Nélson Semedo and Karim Benzema converted – meaning France temporarily reclaimed top spot.
It did not take long for Benzema to double his tally and fire France in front as Paul Pogba played him through – an important goal because as it stood France were top and Portugal were bottom.
Jota still did not see much of the ball as the French got a grip of the game and largely controlled things throughout the second half.
But things took another twist in the game as Jules Koundé gave away a penalty through a handball which Ronaldo again converted – meaning Portugal went back up to second place and Germany, still trailing to Hungary, were out as it stood.Embed from Getty Images
Portugal desperately needed a goal to make sure they were through as, if they lost to France it would have meant an early end to their title defence.
But Germany equalised in Munich meaning they ended up in second and Portugal’s record was good enough for their third-placed finish to mean they progressed.
It was a very quiet game for the Liverpool man. Jota did not really get on the ball at all and he must improve going into the round of 16. His country’s Euros fate may depend on it.
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