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Cristiano Ronaldo

Euro 2024 Day 5 recap – Portugal and Turkey victorious in openers

The first round of 2024 European Championship fixtures has been completed and we’ve now seen every side at the tournament.

Turkey and Georgia clashed in Dortmund yesterday, and it was a thrilling match. Mert Muldur’s cracking volley was cancelled out by Georges Mikautadze’s finish before a world-class strike from Real Madrid’s Arda Guler put the Crescent-Stars back in front.

An injury-time goal on the counter-attack by Kerem Akturkoglu put the finishing touches on an encouraging opener for Vincenzo Montella’s men.

Portugal and Czechia then got in on the action with another thriller. A surprise appeared to be on the way when Lukas Provod fired in a belter, but an own goal by Robin Hranac levelled the scores.

In the closing seconds, Francisco Conceicao capitalised on some poor defending to slam home the winner from close range.

Standout Performer – Arda Guler

Turkish fans are very excited about Arda Guler’s emergence, and it’s not hard to see why.

He made a big-money move to Real Madrid at the age of just 18 and has since made a promising start to life in Spain with six goals in ten La Liga appearances.

And in his nation’s opener, the teenager lived up to the hype with a stellar display. He lit up the game with a stunning effort in the 65th minute, bending a left-footed strike into the top corner to put Turkey back in front.

Three years after their disastrous campaign last time, Turkey have given themselves a great chance at qualifying for the knockout stage. And if Guler is at his best, they could be a threat to any side.

Poorest Player – Robin Hranac

Czechia went into their fixture with Portugal as the underdogs. Even after taking a surprise lead in the 62nd minute, they would likely have taken a draw. All they needed was to hold firm at the back.

To be fair, it would be harsh to blame Robin Hranac for his own goal. Many people would pin the blame on goalkeeper Jindrich Stanek, who carelessly palmed the ball against the defender from Nuno Mendes’ weak header.

But the Viktoria Plzen man cannot make any excuses for his error in the lead-up to the winner. He made a complete mess of Pedro Neto’s cross, putting the ball on a plate for Francisco Conceicao to finish.

Talking Point – Cristiano Ronaldo does enough for now

Is there ever a time in football when we’re NOT talking about Cristiano Ronaldo? Over 800 goals, five Ballons d’Or, five Champions Leagues – he’s undeniably one of the sport’s most iconic figures.

But the conversation has shifted in recent years. He’s now 39 and evidently not the player he once was. Some people even claim that he ought to be left out of the starting XI. Is he still good enough to lead a side to glory?

His display against Czechia gave a somewhat inconclusive answer to that question. His critics will point to his failure to register a goal contribution, missing a big chance in the first half after being played through by former Manchester United teammate Bruno Fernandes.

However, there were moments when the veteran looked sharp. He had three shots on target, got into plenty of dangerous areas, and produced a wonderful pass for Vitinha in the first half.

It remains to be seen whether Ronaldo has still got ‘it’. But it’s likely that he will keep his place in the line-up for now.

Up Next

Matchday 2 begins later today, starting with a Group B clash between Croatia and Albania. Both sides lost their openers, and another defeat would leave them in a desperate situation heading into the final group games.

This is followed by a meeting between Germany and Hungary, who had opposite fortunes in their last outings. The hosts defeated Scotland 5-1, while the Magyars lost 3-1 to Switzerland. A draw almost certainly sees Germany through to the knockout stage.

The final game of the day comes in Cologne, as Scotland face Switzerland. Much like Germany, the latter know that a draw will probably be enough to book their place in the round of 16. However, Scotland face an uphill battle to progress following their heavy defeat on Friday.

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