Penalty shootout success as Portugal get past Slovenia in the Euro 2024 Round of 16

Portugal kept their 2024 European Championship hopes alive after a penalty shootout victory over Slovenia in the Round of 16.

The Seleção were the superior side in Frankfurt but struggled to make it count, Cristiano Ronaldo going close with a free kick and João Palhinha hitting the post on the stroke of half-time.

Chances were hard to come by in the second half as the match went to extra time. Diogo Jota won a penalty which saw Ronaldo step up, his spot kick expertly saved by Jan Oblak.

Portugal were extremely fortunate in the 115th minute after a near disaster from Pepe, Benjamin Šeško racing clear but unable to beat Diogo Costa.

The Portuguese goalkeeper took that confidence into the penalty shootout where he saved Slovenia’s first three spot kicks. Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva made no mistake to send the Seleção into the quarter-finals where they will face France.

Portugal the superior side

Portugal got off to a fast start in Frankfurt, winning plenty of possession in Slovenia’s half and applying pressure with crosses into the box.

Bernardo Silva went close to finding Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes, João Cancelo’s cross then picking out Ronaldo who couldn’t generate enough power to trouble Jan Oblak.

Rafael Leão went on a log run forward and was taken out on the edge of the box by Vanja Drkušić. The centre-back was booked, Ronaldo stepping up and powering the free kick narrowly over the bar.

Another cross went close to providing Portugal with an opportunity when Ronaldo went desperately close to getting onto Vitinha’s delivery. Leão took the advantage in his individual duel with Žan Karničnik, the right-back booked for a cynical handball.

Slovenia eventually made Diogo Costa work in the 44th minute, Benjamin Šeško’s harmless long distance shot going straight to the underworked goalkeeper.

The Seleção went close in added time, Leão doing well to beat Drkušić and tee up João Palhinha who saw his shot kiss the outside of the post.

João Cancelo takes over

The second half started with promising combination play between Cancelo and Bernardo Silva. The right-back got past Jaka Bijol, his cross cleared to Silva who couldn’t keep his effort down.

Cancelo was then fouled by Adam Gnezda Čerin, Ronaldo taking centre stage once again and firing the free kick straight at Oblak.

Šeško continued to be Slovenia’s only realistic chance of scoring, the striker doing well to get past Pepe before scuffing a left-footed effort well wide. 


Related: Portugal vs Slovenia: Player ratings

Related: Portugal-Slovenia match reaction: “Winning like this makes us stronger” – Roberto Martínez


Martínez makes his move

Roberto Martínez made the first substitution in the 65th minute, replacing Vitinha with Diogo Jota which saw Bruno Fernandes drop deeper. Ronaldo fired another free kick over the bar.

Matjaz Kek made two changes in the 75th minute when Jon Gorenc Stankovič and Andraz Šporar made way for Jan Mlakar and Žan Celar. Martínez immediately brought on Francisco Conceição for Leão.

The final chance in regulation time came after Jota robbed Žan Karničnik, the substitute presenting Ronaldo with a chance that he struck at Oblak.

Extra time action

Extra time began with Benjamin Verbič getting past Cancelo and seeing his shot deflected wide.

Jota’s impressive cameo continued when he went on a long run into the box and collided with Drkušić¸ referee Daniele Orsato showing no hesitation in awarding a penalty. Ronaldo stepped up, Oblak diving the right way and diverting the ball onto the post and out of play.

Ronaldo was in tears, the superstar needing to consoled by teammates with 15 minutes to play.

Cancelo was taken out by Jure Balkovec near the touchline, Bruno Fernandes’ free kick finding Palhinha who saw his header tipped over the bar by Oblak.

There was incredible drama in the 115th minute when Portugal dodged a big bullet. Pepe lost his footing and the ball which allowed Šeško to race clear, the striker lacking composure with a finish that was too close to Costa.

It was Pepe’s last involvement as he made way for Rúben Neves, an exhausted Cancelo coming off for Nélson Semedo.

A penalty shootout was required and it was as decisive as they come.

Slovenia’s first three spot kicks from Josip Iličić, Jure Balkovec and Benjamin Verbič were all saved by Diogo Costa, Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva making no mistake to send the Seleção into the quarter-finals.

By Matthew Marshall at the Waldstadion

Line Ups

Portugal (4-3-3): Diogo Costa - João Cancelo (Nélson Semedo 117’), Pepe (Rúben Neves 117’), Rúben Dias, Nuno Mendes - Bruno Fernandes, João Palhinha, Vitinha (Diogo Jota 65’) - Rafael Leão (Francisco Conceição (76’), Cristiano Ronaldo, Bernardo Silva

Unused substitutes: Rui Patrício, José Sá, António Silva, Gonçalo Inácio, Danilo Pereira, Diogo Dalot, Matheus Nunes, João Neves, João Félix, Pedro Neto, Gonçalo Ramos

Coach: Roberto Martínez

Slovenia (4-4-2): Jan Oblak - Žan Karničnik, Vanja Drkušić, Jaka Bijol, Jure Balkovec - Petar Stojanović (Benjamin Verbič 86’), Adam Gnezda Čerin, Timi Max Elšnik (Josip Iličić 106’), Jan Mlakar (Jon Gorenc Stankovič 74’) - Andraz Šporar (Žan Celar 75’), Benjamin Šeško

Unused substitutes: Vid Belec, Igor Vekić, David Brekalo, Miha Blažič, Adrian Zeljković, Sandi Lovrić, Jasmin Kurtić, Tomi Horvat, Nino Žugelj, Žan Vipotnik

Suspended: Erik Janza

Coach: Matjaz Kek