EURO 2024: Costa’s Heroics Propel Hapless Portugal To Shootout Win Over Solid Slovenia

Diogo Costa Was One Of The Heroes Of EURO 2024 RO16
Diogo Costa Was One Of The Heroes Of EURO 2024 RO16

Cristiano Ronaldo’s out-of-sorts Portugal recorded a 3-0 shootout win over Slovenia after playing out a goalless draw over 120 minutes in their EURO 2024 Round-of-16 clash at Deutsche Bank Park on Monday night (July 1). Portuguese goalkeeper Diogo Costa was the star of the show in Frankfurt, as his spectacular saves denied Slovenia their first knockout victory in the EUROs.

Cristiano Ronaldo & Co. Fail To Break Down Slovenia

One of the most stacked teams in EURO 2024 were the overwhelming favorites to claim the victory over Slovenia in the Round of 16. The result ultimately pointed that way, but the contest was much tighter than most expected.

Roberto Martinez fielded a fiery XI on Monday, featuring Ronaldo, Rafael Leao, Bruno Fernandes, and Bernando Silva in attack. The midfield, consisting of Vitinha and Joao Palhinha, alongside high-flying full-backs, Joao Cancelo and Nuno Mendes, regularly fed the attacking unit. Portugal also enjoyed a lot of possession and regularly made inroads into dangerous areas. However, it just did not come together inside the box.

The top scorer in European Championship history, Ronaldo had eight shots over the course of 120 minutes against Slovenia, four of which landed on target. Jan Oblak, however, refused to be beaten by his former rival. The 39-year-old even had the opportunity to fire his team into the lead from the penalty spot in the 105th minute, but Oblak saw his shot all the way through and dove to his left to deny the Real Madrid icon. Fernandes and Silva had one shot each, but it did not carry any merit. Leao, meanwhile, failed to register even a single shot in 76 minutes.

Diogo Costa Saves Portugal’s Blushes In EURO 2024 Showdown

After Portugal failed to breach Slovenia in 120 minutes, the game went to penalties, commencing a battle between two of the best goalkeepers in the business, Costa and Oblak. Portugal’s Costa was up first, and he set the tone by diving to his left and denying Josip Ilicic. Ronaldo then made amends for his earlier miss, beating Oblak for pace and sending the ball into the bottom-left corner.

Jure Balkovec stepped up to take Slovenia’s second spot kick, and Costa, once again, made a superb save. This time, the Porto goalkeeper lunged to his right to keep the ball from rattling the back of the net. Portugal’s second kick-taker Bruno Fernandes doubled his team’s advantage in the shootout, rolling the ball into the bottom-left corner.

Costa capped off his night by denying Slovenia’s third penalty taker Benjamin Verbic, leaping to his right and parrying it away to safety. Manchester City ace Silva took the decisive penalty for Os Navegadores, thumping it into the bottom-right corner to secure their place in the quarter-finals.

Costa went into record books for his heroics against Slovenia, becoming the first goalkeeper in the European Championship history to save three penalties. He also became the first shot-stopper in EURO history to keep a clean sheet across 120 minutes and a penalty shootout.

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