EURO 2024, Soccer, Ronaldo

Ronaldo's Last Stand? Portugal falls to France in dramatic EURO 2024 quarterfinal

In a thrilling penalty shootout, France triumphs over Portugal, potentially marking the end of Cristiano Ronaldo's legendary European Championship career.

Cristiano Ronaldo seen during UEFA Euro 2024 game between national teams of Portugal and Czech Republic at Red Bull (Photo: Shutterstock / Maciej Rogowski Photo)

In a clash that pitted soccer's old guard against its new wave, France emerged victorious over Portugal in a gripping Euro 2024 quarterfinal match. The contest, held in Hamburg's bustling stadium, ended in a tense penalty shootout after a goalless draw, with Les Bleus prevailing 5-3.

The match may have marked the end of an era for Portuguese soccer. Cristiano Ronaldo, at 39, likely played in his final European Championship game. The living legend, who has graced the tournament a record six times, could only watch as his team's dreams were dashed despite his successful penalty kick.

For France, the victory exorcised the demons of recent penalty shootout failures, including losses in Euro 2021 and the 2022 World Cup final. Theo Hernández delivered the coup de grâce, his decisive shot finding the top corner and igniting jubilant celebrations among the French contingent.

Notably absent from the shootout drama was French talisman Kylian Mbappé, substituted earlier due to fatigue and a protective mask-covered broken nose. His absence, however, did not hinder his team's resolve.

As France advances to face Spain in the semifinals, questions linger about their offensive capabilities. Despite their defensive prowess—conceding only one goal in the tournament—Les Bleus have yet to score from open play.

For Portugal and their coach Roberto Martinez, the loss prompts soul-searching as they exit the tournament goal-less in their final three matches. As for Ronaldo, the soccer world waits with bated breath to see if the five-time world player of the year will don his national colors again.

In the end, this quarterfinal encapsulated the beautiful game's cruel nature—where dreams are realized and shattered in the blink of an eye, or in this case, the swing of a boot.

* AP contributed to this report.

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