The Euro 2020 group stage has ended with world champions France holding European champions Portugal 2-2 in Budapest to make it through Group F and qualify for the round of 16.
A cagey start burst into life in the first half with two penalties for either side, in controversial fashion. After France keeper Hugo Lloris made contact with Danilo while coming out to punch the ball, Portugal were awarded a penalty, dispatched – naturally – by Cristiano Ronaldo.
The penalty made Ronaldo the highest-scoring European player in international competition, while also pushing him a goal further in front as the record European Championship scorer.
Shortly after, however, referee Antonio Lahoz awarded France a penalty after a collision with Nelson Semedo in the penalty area. Despite Portuguese protestations that it was a routine blocking off the PSG man’s run, Lahoz didn’t even consult VAR. Benzema converted the resulting spot kick for his first French goal in six years, following his return from the international wilderness this summer.
Benzema doubled his tally a few minutes into the second half. The veteran forward latched on to a long ball to slide a finish in off the upright, before the referee immediately chalked it off for offside. Following a quick check from the video assistant, the goal was reinstated to give France a 2-1 lead after coming from behind.
It wasn’t long before Portugal drew level with another penalty. After an hour, Jules Kounde was deemed to have handled in the area, giving Cristiano Ronaldo the chance for his second in the evening and his 109th in international competition. Sure enough, the Portuguese skipper slotted him the equaliser to bring his nation back into second and on course for a last-16 clash with England at Wembley.
Germany, however, ensured that it would be them that meets England with a 2-2 draw in Munich against Hungary. Portugal, instead, finish third in the group and will face Belgium in the next round.
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