Tearful Ronaldo reprieved as Portugal beat Slovenia on penalties

Cristiano Ronaldo’s tears turned into elation as Portugal beat Slovenia on penalties to reach a Euro 2024 quarter-final against France despite the 37-year-old’s missed spot-kick in extra-time.

A sobbing Ronaldo had to be consoled by team-mates after Jan Oblak brilliantly saved his penalty in the 105th minute but, following a gruelling goalless draw, he converted Portugal’s first effort in the shootout as goalkeeper Diogo Costa made saves from Josip Ilicic, Jure Balkovec and Benjamin Verbic to send them through.

Costa’s heroics allowed Bernardo Silva to convert the winning kick after Bruno Fernandes had also scored, and came after a similarly crucial one-on-one save from Benjamin Sesko deep in extra-time as Slovenia came agonisingly close to an historic upset.

Ronaldo’s dramatic night as it happened

8 mins – Ronaldo unsuccessfully appeals for a penalty after being tackled in the Slovenia box from Rafael Leao’s pass.

13 mins – Another frustrated reaction as Bernardo Silva’s cross sails just over his head and Bruno Fernandes can’t quite turn the ball home at the far post.

16 mins – Ronaldo’s second penalty appeal of the evening is rightly waved away by referee Daniele Orsato.

31 mins – Ronaldo lines up his first free-kick of the night and looks to the sky as it flies inches over the bar.

36 mins – Ronaldo is furious after another Silva cross sails just over his head.

39 mins – Ronaldo pulls rank at a free-kick and shoots wide from a crossing position near the left-hand touchline.

55 mins – Another free-kick, this time from a more central position, is powered straight into the arms of Jan Oblak.

72 mins – Ronaldo’s fourth and final free-kick attempt of the night sails harmlessly into the crowd, much to his annoyance.

89 mins – A chance to win it in the penultimate minute of normal time but Ronaldo shoots straight at Oblak from Diogo Jota’s through-ball.

105 mins – Ronaldo’s penalty is saved by Oblak, prompting a tearful reaction from Portugal’s talisman, who has to be consoled during the interval.

120 mins – Ronaldo, still looking haunted by his earlier miss, keeps his cool to find the bottom corner with Portugal’s first spot-kick in the shootout, paving the way for a redemptive victory.

Predictably, though, it was Ronaldo who dominated the encounter. The former Manchester United and Real Madrid forward was on a mission to open his account at Euro 2024 having blanked in the group stage and cut an emotionally-charged figure from the start.

His efforts on goal over the course of the 120 minutes, including four unsuccessful free-kicks, all prompted animated reactions but his anger was replaced by devastation after Oblak denied him from the spot shortly before the halfway point of extra-time.

Ronaldo’s free-kick woes

Cristiano Ronaldo has attempted 60 shots from free-kicks at major tournaments for Portugal and only scored once.

Oblak had also saved from Ronaldo in the 89th minute and the goalkeeper was not the only Slovenia player who shone as the underdogs kept Roberto Martinez’s star-studded side at bay for long periods, demonstrating defensive doggedness and occasional flashes of attacking threat at the other end.

Portugal hero Costa makes history

Diogo Costa is the first goalkeeper in history to save three penalties in a shootout in a European Championship tie.

For Portugal, it was left to Costa to ensure Ronaldo’s redemption, the Porto goalkeeper following up his vital save from Sesko with a hat-trick of stops in the shootout to set up a last-eight tie which will pit Ronaldo against Kylian Mbappe in Hamburg on Friday night.

In pictures: Ronaldo’s tears… then joy

Cristiano Ronaldo saw an extra-time penalty saved during Portugal's last-16 tie with Slovenia
Ronaldo steps up to take his penalty in extra-time

Slovenia's goalkeeper Jan Oblak blocks a penalty kick by Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo during a round of sixteen match at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Frankfurt, Germany, Monday, July 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
Oblak dives to his left and makes a full-stretch save

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after missing to score on a penalty kick during a round of sixteen match between Portugal and Slovenia at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Frankfurt, Germany, Monday, July 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Oblak celebrates as Ronaldo holds his face in his hands

Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo is seen in tears during half-time of extra-time

Cristiano Ronaldo in tears after missing a penalty in extra-time against Slovenia
Ronaldo had to be consoled by team-mates, including the 41-year-old Pepe

Cristiano Ronaldo was consoled by team-mates after seeing an extra-time penalty saved against Slovakia
Former Manchester United team-mate Diogo Dalot also tried to comfort him

Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo celebrated his penalty shootout in muted style

Cristiano Ronaldo and Diogo Costa
Ronaldo embraces Portugal hero Diogo Costa

Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo holds up his fist in celebration towards the Portugal fans

Ronaldo’s delight: We deserved it

Cristiano Ronaldo said: “Sadness at the start is joy at the end. That’s what football is. Moments, inexplicable moments.

“A penalty to give the team the lead. I didn’t manage it. Oblak made a good save. I have to see the penalty, I don’t know if I shot well or badly, but I haven’t missed once all year, and when I needed it most, Oblak saved it.

“I think Portugal deserved it because we had more authority. Slovenia spent almost the entire game defending. It’s very difficult and the whole team is to be congratulated, especially our goalkeeper, who made three very good saves.”

Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo was supported by his team-mates after missing his penalty

Cristiano Ronaldo
He celebrated by tapping the Portugal badge on his shirt

He added: “Portugal was always on top of it, pressing hard, but for one reason or another, didn’t score.

“The pitch wasn’t great, it was very tough but I’d say all things considered, we were better. We deservedly reached the quarter-finals.

“We’re still very excited, we want to enjoy our game, give the fans some joy and happiness and this is our life. This is how we live.”

Penalty hero Costa: The best game of my life

Diogo Costa said: “This is probably the best game of my life.

“I am focused on doing what I had to do. I went with my gut feeling. Of course, we had analysed the penalty-takers, but players change and they change how they shoot.

Diogo Costa saves Benjamin Verbic's penalty
Diogo Costa saves Benjamin Verbic’s penalty

Costa is mobbed by his Portugal team-mates
Costa is mobbed by his Portugal team-mates

“It’s tremendous emotion. This was a tough match. We knew what they were going to do and they did it perfectly.

“I had to be very focused throughout the game. I had to wait for the best opportunity to help the team and that is what I was focused on. It was a very tough match. Goalkeepers sometimes barely touch the ball, but this was worth it.

“I get strength from my family, they are my bedrock. My family, a lot of work and a lot of devotion. Whatever comes, we will be ready. A team like ours must be ready to face anything and we will do it.”

Stats: Story of the match

Who plays who in the quarter-finals?

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