Euro 2024: Portugal Score Late To Beat Czech Republic, 2-1

Francisco Conceicao scored a late winner which secured a 2-1 victory for Portugal against the Czech Republic in their Euro 2024 opener on Tuesday in Leipzig. With the victory, Portugal sit in second place in Group F behind Turkey due to goal difference.

Going into the tournament as one of the favourites after winning every game during qualifying, Portugal were expected to put away a young Czech team rather easily. It didn’t go exactly as planned however, as Lukas Provod opened the score early in the second half with a beautiful strike to the far corner.

The official ball for the UEFA Euro 2024
Alexandre Sousa / Alamy Stock Photo

The lead only lasted 7 minutes, when Jindrich Stanek parried a Nuno Mendes header and the ball deflected off Robin Hranac into the back of his own net. The own goal equalizer undid all of Czech Republic’s hard work from the first half of defending diligently and keeping Portugal out of the box. 

Diogo Jota had a goal ruled out due to an offside call but it didn’t matter in the end as Conceicao struck 2 minutes into extra time. The 21-year-old Porto player slammed the ball into goal from close range after the Czechs were unable to clear a cross.

The goal ensured that Portugal’s captain Cristiano Ronaldo won the first game in his record sixth European Championship.

Despite the close scoreline, Portugal were dominant from the outset of the match, keeping the Czech Republic stuck in their own half. They did however struggle to turn their advantage into scoring opportunities, as the few balls they could get through were easily dealt with by goalkeeper Stanek.

As you’d expect, Ronaldo was the centerpiece of Portugal’s attack, giving his side two of their best chances earlier on. First he launched a free-kick which was collected neatly by Stanek and then he was caught offside when Jota turned in a cross.

Even though the Czechs weren’t able to pull out the victory, they will take confidence in pushing one of the top teams of the tournament to the brink of defeat. Going forward into their remaining Group F games against Turkey and Georgia they should feel like they have the ability to win and make it to the next round.

Next up for Portugal will be Turkey on Saturday at Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund. If there is a clear winner in the match, they will take over the top spot in the Group F standings and likely qualify for the knockout stage. 

France Beat Austria 1-0, Despite Mbappe Injury

France kicked off their Euro 2024 campaign with a 1-0 win over Austria in Group D via an own goal from Max Wober. The Leeds United defender headed the ball past his own goalkeeper while attempting to clear a Kylian Mbappe cross. The goal proved to be the difference in the match with Austria only managing 6 shots on net.

The win wasn’t without incident, as French star forward Kylian Mbappe was reportedly taken to hospital after breaking his nose following an accidental clash. It is still unclear as to whether the 25-year-old will be available for the team’s second fixture against Netherlands on Friday.

Austria came into the Euros in good form, having lost just one of their previous 16 games. They had the best attempt at breaking the 0-0 deadlock in the first half when Christoph Baumgartner was denied by France goalkeeper Mike Maignan at point-blank range.

It wasn’t long after that Mbappe crossed a ball in which Wober could only manage to push past his own keeper and into the net.

With the lead at the break, France came out in the second half and played on the counter-attack. Mbappe could have doubled the lead after racing past the defense but sent the ball wide of goal. 

Even with the loss, Austria will still fancy their chances of making it out of Group D. They will likely need to win both their remaining matches against the Netherlands and Poland to do so. Their next match will be with Poland on Friday at Olympiastadion Berlin.