Cristiano Ronaldo equalled the world record for most individual goals in international football as a 2-2 draw between Portugal and France saw both teams qualify.
With the prospect of a mouth-watering tie against England awaiting the Group F runners-up, both France and Portugal were seeking three points to top the standings. The ever-dangerous Kylian Mbappe was the recipient of the game’s first major chance after Paul Pogba displayed tremendous vision.
The Man Utd midfielder set Mbappe away with a defence-splitting pass before Rui Patricio stood up tall to preserve the deadlock.
With both sides cancelling each other out for much of the fist half, Portugal were suddenly handed an unexpected boost.
A dangerous free-kick saw Hugo Lloris clatter Danilo Pereira with his fist in the act of punching the ball. Incidents like those often go unpunished in the Premier League, but on this occasion, Lloris was penalised. Cristiano Ronaldo made no mistake from the spot to open the scoring.
The tables were turned as the match livened up prior to half time when Mbappe took a tumble after a coming together with Nelson Semedo.
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) June 23, 2021
Soft could well be used to describe the decision, but France and Karim Benzema did not care after the Real Madrid hitman levelled the scores from 12 yards.
Benzema caught Portugal cold less than two minutes into the second half after another outstanding pass from Pogba.
The offside flag rose to halt Benzema’s celebrations after slotting home, but VAR awarded the goal after replays showed he times his run to perfection.
With Portugal staring down the barrel of elimination as Hungary led Germany in the corresponding match, a third penalty handed them a crucial lifeline.
Ronaldo converted his second spot kick after his shot deflected off the raised arm of Jules Kounde inside the area.
With Last 16 permutations shifting almost every minute, Rui Patricio pulled off a dramatic double save from Pogba and Antoine Griezmann to keep his side’s hopes of progressing alive.
As news filtered through that Germany had drawn and qualified with a 2-2 draw against Hungary, both sides saw out the final minutes at walking pace with qualification secured through a draw.
The Group F results set up a mouth-watering clash between England and Germany at Wembley on Tuesday, 29 June.