Euro 2020: Cristiano Ronaldo equals world record, helps Portugal to last 16

Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals and he equalled the international record for most goals as Portugal went through to the round of 16 from Group F with a draw against France

Cristiano Ronaldo in a file photo; Credit: Twitter/@EURO2020

Portugal and France played out an enthralling 2-2 draw at Budapest to book a place in the last 16 of Euro 2020. Cristiano Ronaldo scored from the spot in both halves to take Portugal through to the knockout stage as one of the best four third placed teams after the group stage fixtures. Whereas France, who had already qualified for the round of 16, go through as Group F winners courtesy of two goals from Karim Benzema. Referee Antonio Mateo Lohoz awarded three penalties on a night that saw very few chances created from open play.

Ronaldo gave Portugal the lead on the half-hour mark from the penalty spot. Hugo Lloris, while attempting to punch the ball from Joa Moutinho’s freekick, instead swept Danilo. The referee pointed to the spot. The Portuguese captain stepped up and converted the spot-kick to make the score 1-0 for Portugal.

Benzema’s comeback in Euro 2020

Just before the interval, the referee again pointed to the spot for Nelson Semedo’s foul on Kylian Mbappe inside the penalty box. Although it appeared to be a soft foul, the VAR didn’t overturn the referee’s decision. Benzema stepped up and slotted the ball past Portuguese goalkeeper Rui Patricio to level the score. It was the Real Madrid striker’s first international goal in almost six years after being left out of the team since 2015 for his involvement in a scandal.

Two minutes after restart, Paul Pogba picked up Benzema’s run with a superb through ball from the middle of the park. The 33-year-old forward calmly scored his second of the night to give the lead to the 2018 World champions. Although the linesman raised the flag for offside, the VAR overturned the decision because the replays showed that the Frenchman had timed his run perfectly.

Record Equaling night for Ronaldo

In response at the other end, Ronaldo leapt high to get his head to a cross from left-back Raphael Guerreiro but the attempt went wide. Meanwhile, on the hour-mark, the referee pointed to the spot for a third time on the night. This time it was for a handball by Konde. The 36-year-old Portuguese talisman stepped up and scored his second of the night from the penalty spot to level the score at 2-2. It was his 109th international goal in 178th appearance, level on the World record for most international goals with Iran’s Ali Daei. It was also his fifth goal of Euro 2020 and 14th in European Championship.

France tried to get the winner but the defending champions held on to the one point. Pogba’s long range attempt was brilliantly tipped to the crossbar by the Wolves goalkeeper and the rebound fell to Antoine Griezmann but Particio was quick to recover and parried the ball away.

The draw ensured the passage of both sides to the knockout stage. France will face Switzerland and Portugal will take on Belgium in the round of 16.

Sportslumo Desk

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