Paris (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo equaled the world international record with his 109th goal for Portugal as the reigning champions scraped into the last 16 of Euro 2020 on Wednesday alongside Germany and Spain.
The Portugal captain netted a couple of penalties in a 2-2 draw with world champions France in Budapest to send his team through as one of the top four third-placed sides on a dramatic night in Group F.
Germany needed an 84-minute equalizer from Leon Goretzka to save a nervous 2-2 draw with Hungary in Munich, where a heavyweight tournament was set up with England at Wembley next week.
The 36-year-old Ronaldo gave Portugal the lead just after the half-hour mark with his first spot-kick before France struck back through Karim Benzema’s two goals on both sides of the break.
But with Portugal heading out, as it did with Hungary leading Germany, Ronaldo converted another penalty on the hour to help Portugal through to a clash with top-ranked Belgium.
“We did everything I wanted us to do (in the 4-2 defeat) against Germany,” Portuguese coach Fernando Santos told RTP. “The result was clearly fair.”
His fifth goal in the group stage extended his record-breaking Euro goal to 14 and leveled him with former Iranian striker Ali Daei in his 178th international match.
France finished top of the group on five points and will take on Switzerland in the first knockout round.
“It was a match, it was not easy,” France coach Didier Deschamps told TF1.
“I know a new competition starts from the last 16.”
Germany fights back –
Germany narrowly avoided a repeat of their group stage finish at the 2018 World Cup, which twice came from behind against Hungary to advance to second place.
Adam Szalai gave Hungary a shock early lead, and although Germany pulled level through Kai Havertz in the second half, Andras Schäfer soon put the visitors back in front, only to be eliminated by Goretzka’s late goal.
“We made mistakes but fought and showed excellent morale,” said German coach Joachim Loew.
“It was not for the faint of heart. Now it will be a real highlight to play against England at Wembley. ”
Just minutes before the kick-off in Munich’s Allianz Arena, a fan wearing a German jersey avoided waving a large rainbow flag for security to invade the pitch, ran in front of the lined up teams before being tackled by stewards and led away.
The build-up to the match had been overshadowed by the fallout from UEFA’s decision to block plans by the Munich authorities to light the stadium in rainbow colors.
– Spain hit their stride –
Spain found their form at the right time and crushed Slovakia 5-0 in Sevilla to qualify for the last 16 as second place in Group E behind Sweden.
Spain benefited from two own goals as they flew through to a draw against Croatia, while Ukraine went on to play and face Sweden.
After already qualifying, Sweden secured first place only after scoring late to win 3-2 against Poland, for whom a Robert Lewandowski double was not enough in St. Petersburg.
Spain had drawn their first two matches in the competition despite having a home advantage in Sevilla, but coach Luis Enrique warned on the eve of meeting Slovakia that his team was “like a bottle of cava being cut off”.
For the second time in a row, they missed a penalty kick when Alvaro Morata’s effort was saved by Martin Dubravka.
However, Dubravka made a spectacular save. The ball looked to have taken a deflection on the way in, but he’s claiming it! Pablo Sarabia had to make a substitution after 25 minutes.
Aymeric Laporte then scored his first goal for Spain since switching international fidelity from France, making it 2-0 right at the break.
The European champions in 2008 and 2012 ran away with the match in the second half when Sarabia and Ferran Torres scored.
Juraj Kucka’s own goal made it 5-0 as Spain equaled the biggest winning margin in the history of the European Championship.
“We have closed a lot of mouths. We have played fantastic football and had more luck than in the first two matches, “Laporte told the TV channel Telecinco.
Sweden led Poland 2-0 in St. Petersburg, Emil Forsberg scored an early opener and then shoots in for his rail after good work from Dejan Kulusevski.
Occasionally, Lewandowski had intended to miss a sitter, twice on his way out of the line in quick succession, as it seemed easier to score.
But the Bayern Munich superstar showed his worth with an astonishing strike to reduce the deficit and then an 84th minute equalizer, a result line that would have allowed Spain to win the group.
Poland needed to win themselves to go through, but instead Sweden won it in the fourth minute of extra time as substitute Viktor Claesson made it 3-2.
Meanwhile, those results allowed Ukraine – who played their last Group C match on Monday – to go through as one of the top third-placed teams.