The Slovenia Times

Slovenia fall to Portugal in Euro 2024 thriller

Portugal celebrate after defeating Slovenia in a penalty shootout. Photo: Boštjan Podlogar/STA

Slovenia lost to Portugal in the round of 16 at Euro 2024 on 1 July after a penalty shoot-out that the heavily favoured Portuguese won thanks largely to their goalkeeper Diogo Costa.

The first 90 minutes of the match between the winners of Group F and Slovenia as the third-placed team from Group C ended without goals, as did the overtime period, which saw some dramatic moments.

First, Slovenia's goalkeeper Jan Oblak saved a penalty by Christiano Ronaldo, reducing the superstar to tears, and shortly thereafter the Portuguese goalie saved an attempt by Slovenia's Benjamin Šeško after getting face-to-face with the Slovenian budding star.

In the penalty shoot-out, Costa continued to display stellar saves and single-handedly defeated Slovenia by saving their first three attempts, while his team-mates scored three goals to seal Slovenia's fate.

While downbeat after getting so close placing among the best eight teams in Europe, Slovenia are leaving Euro 2024 after managing a historic success for the nation by making it to the knock-out stage of a major competition for the first time in history.

Slovenian midfielder Adam Gnezda Čerin said that "this is football" and that he was proud of his team and the fans who had created a great atmosphere. He is convinced that "we will see many more such scenes in the coming years."

He said that the experience of the whole tournament was "unbelievable" as a few people had believed before the tournament that this would be the outcome. "I think that the team has a bright future."

Head coach Matjaž Kek said that there is some sadness "when you lose in a penalty shoot-out against a team such as Portugal", but added that he was nevertheless proud of his players as they showed character and determination.

Kek looked ahead to the Nations League games in two months, saying that Slovenia were facing a very tough group of opponents. He hopes that the team will continue to have the kind of support they deserved.

An estimated 8,000 Slovenian fans travelled to Frankfurt for the Portugal game, and thousands more watched at multiple fan zones set up in several cities in Slovenia.


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