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Cristiano Ronaldo wasteful as Portugal beat Czech Republic, Turkey raise more questions than answers – Euro 2024 hits and misses


Plus: Young Czech Republic squad defy their inexperience to impress in narrow Portugal defeat; Georgia show no fear in gutsy first major tournament appearance against Turkey


Another piece of history in the extraordinary career of Cristiano Ronaldo. Named in Portugal’s starting line-up against Czech Republic, he became the first player feature at a sixth European Championship. He just lacked a goal to mark the occasion.

At times, during the first half in particular, he looked sluggish, repeatedly out of position for crosses into the box as Roberto Martinez’s star-studded Portugal side laboured in the final third, despite dominating possession from the outset.

Still, though, the 39-year-old had their best chances, spurning a one-on-one chance from a Bruno Fernandes pass, then seeing a diagonal effort parried in first-half stoppage time. Earlier, there was a decent headed opportunity he sent bobbling past the post.

Ronaldo was prolific in Portugal’s qualifying campaign, top-scoring with 10 goals, but, away from the rigours of European football in Saudi Arabia, it appears he may need a little time to get back up to full speed at this tournament.

He almost provided a match-winning moment, his header steered into the net by Diogo Jota after coming back off the post, but an offside call against him meant that was left to Portugal’s new generation, with Francisco Conceicao the hero on this occasion.

Ronaldo relished the outcome, celebrating the victory with his team-mates after the final whistle. But there is no doubt he will be eager to make his own mark. Even now, in the twilight of his career, and despite a frustrating start to the tournament, you would not bet against him doing it in the games to come.
Nick Wright

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