Euro 2024: Ronaldo’s Portugal and Mbappé’s France clash in quarterfinals

HAMBURG, Germany (AP) — Portugal and France meet in the European Championship quarterfinals on Friday and the match features a head to head between two of soccer’s biggest stars: Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappé. The winner will play either Spain or host nation Germany in the semifinals. Kickoff is at 9 p.m. local (1900 GMT) in Hamburg. Here’s what to know about the match:

Match facts

— It’s a match between two of the pre-tournament favorites but neither have been convincing. Portugal hasn’t scored a goal in its last two matches — a 2-0 loss to Georgia and a 0-0 with Slovenia before winning a penalty shootout — while no France player has scored from open play at Euro 2024. The French have had two own-goals and a penalty from Mbappé.

— Ronaldo burst into tears after having a penalty saved in extra time against Slovenia. Appearing in his record sixth European Championship, he has yet to score — if he does, the 39-year-old striker would be the oldest ever scorer at the tournament.

— Mbappé will again be wearing a protective mask after sustaining a broken nose in France’s group opener against Austria. France coach Didier Deschamps said after the last-16 win over Belgium that Mbappé might need to wear the mask for “months.”

— The match will be played exactly 18 years after the nations’ meeting in the 2006 World Cup semifinals, when Zinedine Zidane scored the winner from the penalty spot. Ronaldo played the full match and the player of the match was Lilian Thuram, whose son, Marcus, is likely to feature for France in Hamburg.

Team news

— France midfielder Adrien Rabiot is suspended after collecting two yellow cards. The likelihood is that Antoine Griezmann will drop back into central midfield to cover for Rabiot, with Ousmane Dembele potentially coming into the forward line.

— Portugal coach Roberto Martinez has no players suspended and said all 26 in his squad were healthy for the match.

— Mbappé is one of four France players who will miss the semifinals if they pick up another booking, should the team advance. It is the same with Ronaldo and five other Portugal players.

By the numbers

— France has only conceded one goal at Euro 2024. That was the retaken penalty by Poland striker Robert Lewandowski, whose first effort was saved by Mike Maignan before the France goalkeeper was adjudged to have come off his line too early.

— The 25-year-old Mbappé has 48 goals for France. He has a long way to go to catch Ronaldo, who has a men’s record 130 international goals.

— This is the teams’ third straight meeting at a European Championship. In the tournament in 2021, they drew 2-2 in the group stage — Ronaldo scored two penalties — and Portugal won 1-0 in the final in 2016.

— Ronaldo, who will make a record 212th appearance for Portugal, has had 20 shots without scoring at Euro 2024.

What they’re saying

— “There is only one Cristiano Ronaldo, there will only ever be one. I am following my own path.” — France captain Kylian Mbappé.

— “It’s not about Kylian and Cristiano. It’s about Portugal and France. But definitely two unbelievable players at different stages of their careers.” — Portugal midfielder Bernardo Silva.

— “This is Ronaldo’s last Euro. We’ve got everything we need to give him this gift and we’re going to do everything we can.” — Portugal left back Nuno Mendes.


AP Euro 2024:

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