France top group as Portugal go through with a draw

Cristiano Ronaldo equals the men’s record of international goals as Portugal are the defending champions and draw with France to secure the last 16 of Euro 2020 as one of the top teams in third place.

Ronaldo scored his 108th and 109th goals during the match, both from the penalty area, equal to Ali Daei‘s record set with Iran between 1993 and 2006.

They came on both sides of the break but were not enough to give Portugal the win as striker Karim Benzema broke a six-year drought. With France scoring twice to ensure Les Bleus leads the team.

On a frantic evening, four Group F teams changed positions several times. Portugal looked set to face England in the next round before Germany’s dramatic late equalizer attacked them from the fourth to the second and eliminated Hungary.

Ronaldo gave Portugal the lead after Hugo Lloris followed Danilo. He tried to hit the cross before Benzema equalized at the end of the halftime after Nelson Semedo decided to block Kylian Mbappe‘s run in the box.

Benzema scored second just in time for a fresh start following the shocking pass of Manchester United’s Paul Pogba. But Ronaldo pulled Portugal’s lead in the win and converted a second penalty just 13 minutes later.

The Munich draw means Portugal finished in third place based on a head record. At the same time, France leads the group, a point ahead of Germany.

Ronaldo-inspired Portugal shows a real threat.

The game was played as a battle for the giants, and Ronaldo produced goods as one of the biggest.

His first goal saw him become Europe’s top scorer in 20 major tournaments. By surpassing former Germany striker Miroslav Klose and his second equal to Daei’s record.

He now has 48 goals in his last 45 games for Portugal. And, having scored five goals in three games so far at Euro 2020, leads the Golden Boot race.

Portugal faces another tough test in the next round, as the first team to play first place in Belgium awaits the last 16. But they show their threat in this tournament draw with world champions France.

Ronaldo’s ability to score goals when needed was also demonstrated, and experienced defender Pepe showed his cunning back to block Mbappe.

France's Benzema earns Ronaldo's respect (Source: BBC)
France’s Benzema earns Ronaldo’s respect (Source: BBC)

Goalkeeper Rui Patricio also made an important contribution. He denied Pogba for a long distance by a fingertip save before recovering from Antoine Griezmann’s rebound effort in the second half.

Portugal passed peacefully in 2016 before lifting the trophy, and even though it was a scary night in Budapest. They remained a threat as the tournament enters the knockout stage.

France’s Benzema earns Ronaldo’s respect.

If Ronaldo steals the game in his usual way. It is former Real Madrid team-mate Benzema who has denied defending champions a top spot on the table.

Benzema, who last played for France in October 2015, showed calmness in scoring the equalizer in the first half. Even getting a kick in the back by Ronaldo as he returned to the center of the action.

The two hugged each other during halftime as they left the pitch deep in conversation. But Benzema showed no sympathy when the teams returned from a break, moving home for a second home in France past Pogba.

The teams equalized again after Ronaldo stretched out Jules Kounde’s arm to win Portugal’s second penalty. But France would still win it later when Pogba and Griezmann forced a smart double to be saved from Patricio.

Mbappe has been a problem without scoring goals again, Pogba has produced quality times, and in Benzema, France, he has a world-class striker.

They will take on Switzerland in Bucharest on Monday and will remain one of the competition’s favorites.

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