Euro 2024: Wins for Portugal and Turkey

Tuesday 18 June 2024 22:12

Portugal left it late but came from behind to sink Czech Republic 2-1 and get off to a winning start in Group F at Euro 2024.

The highly fancied former winners, containing ex-Red Cristiano Ronaldo in his record sixth European finals, fell behind to the dogged Czechs after dominating the first half.

Diogo Dalot operated in an advanced right wing-back role while Bruno Fernandes was everywhere, going close with a deflected long-range shot, superbly creating a great chance for Ronaldo that was saved by Jindrich Stanek, and just failing to pick out Rafael Leao inside the box.

However, in driving rain in Leipzig, a splendid 62nd-minute strike into the far corner of the net by Lukas Provod, who got his shot away before Fernandes could charge it down, threatened an upset.

Portugal were up against it but Roberto Martinez responded by withdrawing Dalot and Leao and introducing Goncalo Inacio and Diogo Jota. With Bruno trying to pull the strings, an equaliser arrived in the 69th minute. Nuno Mendes rose to head goalwards and Stanek shovelled it straight against Robin Hranac and into his own net.

It was a stroke of good fortune and Czech Republic looked capable of holding on for a precious point when regaining their composure.

With three minutes left, though, Jota nodded the ball into the net, from the rebound, after Ronaldo's header from a Joao Cancelo centre came back off the woodwork.

The impressively quick semi-automated offside system, to be introduced during next season's Premier League, spotted Ronaldo had strayed offside and the goal was ruled out, cutting short Jota's celebrations.

Yet there was still another twist in the tale.

With the game in stoppage time, two more substitutes combined to win it for Portugal. Pedro Neto raced down the left and his cross got stuck under the unfortunate Hranac as he tried to clear. The loose ball broke kindly for Francisco Conceicao to ram it home.

Fernandes celebrated with his team-mates as they managed to secure maximum points ahead of Saturday's game with Turkey.

Earlier in the day, Altay Bayindir was an unused substitute in Turkey's 3-1 win over Georgia.

It was a cracking contest, with a brilliant volley by Mert Muldur equalised by Georges Mikautadze within six minutes. A pearler from Real Madrid's Arda Guler restored the lead and the teenager's strike looked to be enough, only for tournament debutants Georgia to launch a late rally.

Not only did Turkey survive but they added a third on the break at the death, when Kerem Akturkoglu found an empty net to ensure top spot for Altay's nation.


The Reds will return to the pitch on 15 July, when we face Rosenborg in Trondheim for our first pre-season game. Following a friendly against Rangers at Murrayfield, Edinburgh on 20 July, we'll fly out to the United States for Tour 2024, comprising three clashes with Arsenal (Los Angeles, 27 July), Real Betis (San Diego, 31 July) and Liverpool (Columbia, 3 August). You can buy tickets for all of our pre-season games here, subject to availability.