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Portugal tie France, both through to Euro 2020 knockouts

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Budapest, June 24 (IANS) France and defending champions Portugal both qualified for the round-of-16 at the Euro 2020 after they played out a 2-2 draw in a thrilling match that saw three penalties given and scored.

Before the game, the Euro 2016 winners only needed to avoid defeat to advance. Portugal would have finished on top had they won, and Germany lost. For France, they had secured a spot in the round-of-16 before the game, reports Xinhua.

Kylian Mbappe almost put the 2018 World Cup winners France ahead in the 16th minute with a low shot, after collecting Paul Pogba’s accurate through ball, but the talented French player’s attempt was denied by Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio.

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The first of the spot-kicks came when Hugo Lloris raced off his line to punch a cross clear but caught Danilo first. The penalty was given, and Cristiano Ronaldo converted from the spot.

Karim Benzema levelled for France with a penalty before the half break, after it was adjudged that Nelson Semedo had halted an off-the-ball run of Kylian Mbappe in the box.

Benzema was on target again shortly after halftime, beating the offside trap and firing a shot past Rui Patricio after receiving Pogba’s pass.

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In the 58th minute, Portugal was awarded the second penalty of the clash after the referee ruled a hand ball by Jules Kounde.

Ronaldo then beat Lloris again to take his tournament tally to five and equal the international goal-scoring record (109) held by Iran’s retired footballer Ali Daei.

In the round of 16, Portugal will face Belgium and Group F toppers France will meet Switzerland.

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–IANS

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