Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Cristiano Ronaldo: Tears to triumph for Portuguese in dramatic penalty shootout win against Slovenia

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Portugal’s talisman experienced every emotion imaginable in 120 minutes.

He is still yet to score at Euro 2024 and was in the spotlight throughout the match, showing his emotions and frustrations as he missed numerous chances.

His entrance had been greeted with a huge roar from the Portugal fans – the same supporters who chanted his name when his penalty was saved by Oblak.

At the other end, Slovenian supporters jeered, let off flares, banged drums and celebrated each time his efforts missed the target.

Despite 20 shots on goal in the tournament – the most by any player – he is yet to find the net. To make matters worse, he has missed three of his nine penalties at major tournaments.

“We all know that Cristiano is the hardest worker,” said goalkeeper Costa, who was the hero on the night.

“I understand how frustrated he is because he devotes all his time to this. It’s a pleasure and an honour to be on the same team as him.

“We’re a family, I really think this. I focus on making the best of these chances and I wanted to help the team. This is the most important thing.

“This is probably the best game of my life.”

As his frustration grew through the night, Ronaldo fell to his knees, looking at the sky, pleading for luck to come his way.

He roared in frustration and air-punched the ground when crosses flew over his head, as he tried everything to become the oldest goalscorer at a European Championship.

With every free-kick that came and went, he has now scored just one of the 60 direct free-kicks he has attempted at major international tournaments, the desperation grew.

Later, he turned to supporters and waved his arms frantically, asking for more noise and praying for them to not give up.

When his spot-kick was saved, Portugal fans sang “Viva Ronaldo” after his emotional outburst was shown on the big screen in the Frankfurt Arena.

Former Scotland winger Pat Nevin reacted in disbelief on BBC Radio 5 Live: “He missed a penalty kick. He shouldn’t be in tears.”

But when he eventually scored in the shootout, there were no flamboyant celebrations, just a nod to the fans behind the goal and an apology.

“It’s hard enough going up to take a penalty anyway, but taking one in that situation when you’ve just missed a penalty at such a crucial time… unbelievable,” said former England striker Alan Shearer on BBC One.

“This is why they are great players – because they have great mental strength.

“I think there are a couple of occasions where 10 years ago there’s no doubt he would have got on the end of it. It has been a Ronaldo show, though, hasn’t it?”

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown, added: “Psychologically, we saw the tears and we saw the professionalism [to step up and score in the penalty shootout].

“It was remarkable from Costa. They relied upon him. Cristiano Ronaldo… It wasn’t about him tonight. It was about that man [Costa].”



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