Portugal vs Slovenia: Player ratings

As far as goalless draws are concerned, Portugal’s last-16 knockout showdown with Slovenia was an exhilarating show for the neutral. For Portuguese followers, it was an evening that descended into dread and terror as Slovenia came dangerously close to upstaging the Seleção.

Ultimately Portugal were the better side, but no doubt some good fortune was required in the end as a penalty shootout determinded the final scene. We sift through the carnage and issue ratings for the 13 players given significant roles to play by Roberto Martínez.


Diogo Costa – 10 (PortuGOAL Man of the Match)

For as long as he plays, Diogo Costa will probably never have a better 15 minutes in goal than he did tonight. The Porto no.1 stood up to Benjamin Sesko towards the end of extra time to save his country – and colleague Pepe – before emerging the hero from the penalties. The first goalkeeper in the history of the European Championships to save three spot kicks in a shootout. 10 feels too low a score.

João Cancelo – 8

Cancelo was relatively quiet in a first half which saw him again drifting into central areas while supplying the occasional cross. After the break he was Portugal’s biggest threat by far, holding a more straightforward wide role and creating huge problems for Slovenia, particularly with a brilliant run which led to a chance for Bernardo Silva. Once again there were one or two defensive problems, as well as a lax touch which almost let Slovenia in during extra time, but Cancelo was impressive on the ball. His role against France will be an intriguing subject to ponder.

Pepe – 7

Portugal’s rock at the back made a typically assertive start, but no doubt the oldest player to ever play at the Euros started to tire as the encounter dragged on into the night. There were a couple of shaky moments before he began to look vulnerable in big spaces against Sesko. Then of course came his late error, from which he will be forever grateful to Diogo Costa for his rescue.

Rúben Dias – 7.5

Positionally excellent as usual, Dias did a fine job of helping manage Slovenia’s forward line, which perhaps did not get as much support as expected from midfield runners. Always there to make the necessary interceptions, clearances and blocks when called upon.

Nuno Mendes – 8.5

Mendes is getting better as the tournament progresses, which is in keeping with his ongoing return to full fitness having missed most of last season. The former Sporting left-back saw a lot of the ball early on and showed great dynamism to his play throughout. Always available in build-up, Mendes got up and down the left all night and covered inside when needed.

João Palhinha – 7.5

A glaring positive from the evening was João Palhinha avoiding a yellow card which would have ruled him out of the France game. Palhinha went about his duties with added caution, but it made him no less effective in making interceptions and snuffing out danger. Not overworked by Slovenia, who rarely looked to build in midfield, but always there when needed. Nine tackles made – more than twice any of his teammates. 


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

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


Vitinha – 7.5

The decision by Martínez to substitute Vitinha on 64 minutes is a talking point. From the first moment, the PSG man showed great composure in resisting pressure, as Slovenia tried and failed to hurry him on the ball. Perhaps not his most creative display, but the re-shaping of the midfield following his removal did not seem to work and Portugal lost a great deal of control after he left the field.

Bruno Fernandes – 6

Aside from one or two bright moments in crossing and making dangerous runs into the box, Fernandes was quiet first half and his influence lessened further after the break. Charged with dropping deep after Vitinha’s substitution, the Man Utd captain seemed to get lost in proceedings, although he ended on a positive with a cooly-dispatched penalty in the shootout.

Bernardo Silva – 6.5

It felt one of those matches for Bernardo in which he does little wrong in terms of ball retention and displays no shortage of effort, but ultimately struggles to affect the game enough beyond one or two moments. Both he and Vitinha barely gave possession away all night, but when it came to opening up the Slovenian defence, there was a lack of incision. Whether that was the fault of the creative players or the movement around of them is for Martínez to explore. Sent Portugal through with the winning penalty.

Rafael Leão – 7

Rafael Leão clearly worried the Slovenia defence in the first half, when his pace, movement and dribbling caused panic and disorganised their backline. Once again he faded somewhat second half, but Leão was clearly frustrated at being replaced given some of his better moments. Yet Martínez may point to the AC Milan forward not having a single attempt on goal during his 75 minutes on the pitch.

Cristiano Ronaldo – 5.5

It would have been a travesty for this to be Cristiano Ronaldo’s last tournament outing. For much of the evening, it was tough to watch the captain’s emotional journey through two hours in which he knew what he wanted but the finer details evaded him.

Ronaldo’s box movement was intelligent and sharp – as was his desire - but as each opportunity slipped agonisingly out of his grasp, Ronaldo looked a man in turmoil, only seemingly in control when taking ownership of any free-kick which offered a sight of goal. His missed penalty and subsequent tears would have been a cruel way to end his glorious European Championships story. Major questions over whether Martínez possesses the bravery to replace him, but Ronaldo put it all aside to take an exemplary opening penalty to set the tone for Portugal in the shootout.


Diogo Jota – 8

Jota’s introduction made plenty of sense from a personnel point of view, but deploying him in the no10 role and dropping Bruno Fernandes back felt a strange choice by Martínez. Portugal did not benefit much from the change in their overall play, but Jota impacted the game massively when he became involved. Not only did he create a clearcut chance for Ronaldo, who was unable to beat Jan Oblak, Jota’s ambitious penetrative run earned Portugal their extra-time penalty.

Francisco Conceição – 6

Plenty of energy and endeavour as usual from Francisco Conceição, but having replaced Rafael Leão there was no upturn in productivity. Conceição had spells on both flanks but was never able to open up the increasingly stubborn Slovenia defence, who by that time were insistent on settling things from 12 yards.

Rúben Neves (117’) – not rated

Nélson Semedo (117’) – not rated

By @SeanGillen9