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The Portuguese dominated with a late 2-1 win over the Czech Republic

The Portuguese dominated with a late 2-1 win over the Czech Republic

Ronaldo did not score a goal, but he broke another record. The 39-year-old captain was on the field from the start, making his sixth European Championship appearance perfect. It was Ronaldo's 26th appearance in a European Championship final, and no other player has managed to achieve this.

Portugal had only minor problems in the first half in a brave opening half led by the Czechs, but the defense around new European Championship record holder Pepe did not let up. At the age of 41 years and 113 days, he replaced former Hungarian record holder Gábor Király, who was 40 years and 86 days old at the 2016 European Championship against Belgium.

After a quarter of an hour at the latest, the game took on its expected character. It was a game of patience for the Portuguese, who were keen to adapt in front of a well-entrenched penalty area, as the tall Czechs remained close for long periods and at times a slight static prevailed in the complex Portuguese game.

What remains in the memory in particular are two opportunities for Ronaldo that were wasted by Czech goalkeeper Jendrish Stanek. Once he got there from short range after an assist from Fernandes he blocked (32nd), shortly before half-time he made a timely jump shot into the far corner (45+1). Even with two chances from Leao (26th) and Vitinha (33rd), there was little left to make it 1-0 to a World Cup quarter-finalist.

Relief attacks from abroad were a rare commodity. Substitution moments were stifled either by direct counter-pressure from the Seleção or by their own ineptitude. Portugal's 73 percent possession rate spoke volumes and did not change much after the break.

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A few minutes after launching a counterattack from Ronaldo's header over the goal (54th minute) for the Portuguese, the Czech team celebrated its first major attacking effort. Provod took advantage of the slight defensive inconsistency and shot from the second row into the top left corner.

Portugal responded angrily and equalized shortly afterwards in a strange manner. Stanek's attempt to clear Mendes' cross bounced off Hranac's leg and into the net. Shortly afterwards, Stanek improved with a long-range effort from Vitinas (78).

In the end, the clearly tired Czechs had the opportunity to score another goal through Ondrej Linger (82nd minute/next), but they were busy controlling the opponent's final attack. This was not initially successful because Diogo Jotas was disallowed 2-1 by VAR for a previous offside position (88th). Four more minutes later, Conceição, who had just been substituted, made another unfortunate save from Hranac from short range.