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Sport

Martinez hails Ronaldo after Portugal shootout win over Slovenia

todayJuly 2, 2024 3

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Portugal coach Roberto Martinez praised Cristiano Ronaldo after a roller-coaster night against Slovenia in which the captain missed a penalty in extra time and then scored in a 3-0 shootout win to help take them into the quarterfinals at Euro 2024.

Ronaldo was left in tears after his extra-time spot kick miss left the score at 0-0 but redeemed himself by scoring with the first kick of the shootout before goalkeeper Diogo Costa then saved three penalties to send Portugal through.

“He (Ronaldo) doesn’t need to care that much and that’s why I thank him for being the way he is, for caring for the group … I was certain he had to be the first penalty taker and show us the way to the victory,” Martinez told reporters.

“I think we all felt very proud of our captain. The dressing room was delighted with what he’s doing. I think he gave us all a lesson, that you need to live every day as if it’s the last one.

“You need to have real high standards and never give up – life and football gives you difficult moments, and the way he reacted is a real example that we are very proud of in Portuguese football.”

After a tough 120 minutes and the emotion of the shootout, Martinez and Portugal face a quick turnaround as they next prepare to meet France, who earlier beat Belgium 1-0 in their last-16 tie, in Hamburg on Friday.

“We don’t want days off, we want to be here, now we’re focused and focused on France … this Euros is red-hot, and three days is enough to get ready for the next game,” Martinez added.

“France are very strong and things tend to get harder defensively, but in the attack maybe there’s more space behind the lines. So this is a stronger opponent and they can cause more issues, but it’s a better opponent because you’ll have more chances,” he added.

Written by: Staff Writer

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