To close out the first matchday of Euro 2024, Czechia almost pulled off another stunning upset over Portugal. With half an hour to play, Czechia had a one-goal lead, despite Portugal dominating the control of the ball and coming close on several occasions. Yet, it was the Portuguese to score two late goals, including one in the second minute of stoppage time, to secure three points.

Portugal is one of the favorites of the tournament. Despite having the lion’s share of possession and firing off 19 shots by the final whistle, it was far from an impressive performance. Roberto Martinez’s starting XI included all the traditional names for Portugal. Cristiano Ronaldo was up top, becoming the first player to appear in six European Championships. Rafael Leao and Bernardo flanked the star man, and a talented midfield sat behind. Bruno Fernandes and Vitinha had wingbacks Diogo Dalot and Joao Cancelo. All that talent failed to muster a sizeable number of scoring chances for Portugal.

Cristiano Ronaldo had the best chance for much of the game. He had two shots on target in the first 45 minutes. On both occasions, Czech goalkeeper Jindřich Staněkwas equal to the legend. In comparison, Czechia did not have a shot on target in the first half. That did not stop it from opening the scoring though.

In the 62nd minute of the game, Czechia finally had a shot on target. From just outside the area, a cutback pass to Lukas Provod allowed the midfielder to hit the ball first time. His right-footed shot curled away from Diogo Costa in the Portugal net. The ball glanced off the inside of the post to give Czechia a surprise lead.

Portugal manages inspired comeback against Czechia

Perhaps going behind provided Portugal with the impetus to push forward. Six minutes after Czechia broke the deadlock, Portugal had an equalizer. While one team’s goal was a sumptuous finish, the other’s was a scrappy mess. Regardless, they all count the same. A Nuno Mendes header at the end of Vitinha’s cross was put into a dangerous area. Czechia goalkeeper Staněkwas went to parry the ball instead of smothering it. That put it on a path for Robin Hranac. The ball bounced off the defender and into the Czechia net for a tie game.

In the 87th minute, it looked like Portugal had a winner. Ronaldo centered a header off a cross into a dangerous area. Diogo Jota, a second-half substitute, was the first to pounce as he bundled the ball in. A VAR review showed that Ronaldo was a shoulder’s length offside, and the goal did not stand.

No matter for Portugal, though. Five minutes after its disallowed goal, the Iberian nation had one that would stand and prove to be the winner. Less than two minutes after coming on, Francisco Conceicao was at the end of a Pedro Neto pass. The Czech defense failed to deal with the pass, and Conceicao slammed the ball home to provide Portugal with a win.

It was not a pretty win in Roberto Martinez’s major international tournament debut with Portugal. Yet, it is a win, and Portugal is one step closer to another spot in the knockout stages of the European Championship. Still, there are ample areas to clean up if the squad wants to repeat its success of 2016.


Euro 2024

Here are some resources to get you ready for Euros!
Euro Bracket: Download a free PDF bracket for the tournament
Euro 2024 Schedule: Full schedule of all games for the 2024 tournament
How to watch: Information on where to find the games on TV and streaming
How to Stream Learn how you can stream Euro games live in 2024
2024 Soccer Calendar: Get the lowdown on what will be a busy year in soccer