Cristiano Ronaldo is focus of penalty drama as Portugal reaches Euro 2024 quarterfinals after beating Slovenia

By Ben Morse, CNN

CNN  — 

Portugal advanced to the quarterfinals of Euro 2024 after beating Slovenia in a penalty shootout on Monday in a game where Cristiano Ronaldo was reduced to tears after missing a spot-kick in extra-time.

Ronaldo had his penalty superbly saved by Jan Oblak after a frustrating evening for the striker. His failure to convert his penalty left the 39-year-old in tears and his teammates had to rally round the striker before the second period of extra-time.

In the shootout, Ronaldo stepped up and made amends by scoring his team’s first penalty while Portugal goalkeeper Diogo Costa saved all three of Slovenia’s attempts. Costa is the first keeper to save three penalties at a European Championships.

Portugal scored all four of their penalties with Bernardo Silva slotting home the fourth to confirm the victory.

Costa had kept Portugal in the game during extra-time when he expertly saved from Slovenia’s superstar youngster Benjamin Šeško after the 21-year-old had pounced on a rare mistake from 41-year-old Pepe to run clear. Costa stuck out a leg to stop Šeško from scoring and the game went to that penalty shootout.

Portugal will now play France on July 5.

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, GERMANY - JULY 01: Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal takes a penalty saved by Jan Oblak of Slovenia during the UEFA EURO 2024 round of 16 match between Portugal and Slovenia at Frankfurt Arena on July 01, 2024 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)

A frustrating evening ends well

Before Costa’s goalkeeping masterclass, it had looked like it was going to be a frustrating evening for Portugal and Ronaldo personally.

Having entered Monday’s game without a goal at Euro 2024, it was more of the same at the Frankfurt Arena for Ronaldo.

He had opportunities to score with his head, while as ever he also was on freekick duty for Portugal. He hit some of his efforts over the bar and another straight at Oblak. Ronaldo’s best opportunity during normal time came in the final few minutes when he was played in on goal but his left-footed shot was straight at Oblak.

As the game dragged on, Ronaldo cut an increasingly disheartened character. That was until the end of the first period of extra-time when his teammate Diogo Jota was felled in the Slovenia box and a penalty was awarded.

Ronaldo, as the team’s designated penalty taker, stepped up but Oblak was able to get a big hand to it, tipping it onto the post and away to safety.

The frustrations of the moment clearly impacted Ronaldo and he was seen in tears during the extra-time interval as his teammates attempted to console him and get him in the right frame of mind for the rest of the match.

Costa’s huge save to deny Šeško was the only major moment of the final 15 minutes of action before the penalty shootout, which was the first of the tournament.

He saved all three Slovenian penalties while Ronaldo banished his demons by powering home his own attempt; after scoring, he raised a seemingly apologetic hand to the Portugal supporters behind the goal.

Ronaldo has already made history at Euro 2024 by becoming the first player to feature in six European Championships, but he has lacked his usual cutting edge in this edition of the tournament.

The veteran striker, who plays for Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr, has now gone seven games at major international tournaments with Portugal without scoring. Given he’s scored a world record 130 goals, his recent inability to find the net is something of a surprise, but also raises question as to whether he should be a seemingly permanent fixture in the team.

The 39-year-old made his European Championship debut back in 2004, when host Portugal was beaten by Greece in the final. Ronaldo went on to lead his nation to victory at Euro 2016, his only major trophy at international level, though he had to be substituted in the first half of the final after picking up an injury.

The former Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus star featured in all of Portugal’s Group F matches this year, without finding the net.

The frustration of his inability to score on Monday appeared to be getting to Ronaldo and he could often be seen shouting to the heavens on several occasions when a chance went begging.

Ronaldo reacts after missing a missed chance against Slovenia.

Monday’s game was a familiar story for Ronaldo to the rest of his Euro 2024, as he has yet to find the back of the net so far at the tournament. According to Goal, it was the first time he had finished a group stage without a goal.

He has had also the most shots of any player in his four games at Euro 2024 – 20 – with no goals to his name.

Nonetheless, Friday’s quarterfinal against France offers Ronaldo the chance to become the oldest goalscorer at the Euros should he find the net.

Meanwhile Ronaldo’s teammate Pepe, who is 41 years and 126 days old, made history on Monday by becoming the oldest player to appear in a knockout stage match in major tournaments surpassing the previous record set by former England goalkeeper Peter Shilton, per Opta.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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