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Portugal win as Ronaldo starts in record 6th Euro

Written by 
Published in Breaking News
Tuesday, 18 June 2024 16:12

Cristiano Ronaldo has become the first player to appear in six European Championships as Portugal scored a late goal to start their 2024 tournament with a 2-1 win over Czechia on Tuesday.

The 39-year-old, who was kept off the scoresheet, is looking to reclaim the title that Portugal won in 2016, when they beat host country France 1-0 for their first European trophy.

Substitute Francisco Conceição scored in stoppage time to give Roberto Martinez's side the win.

Ronaldo was predictably at the centre of most of Portugal's attacks, passing up their best chance of the first half when he was played through on goal by Bruno Fernandes only to be thwarted by keeper Jindrich Stanek who spread himself brilliantly to stop the striker's effort.

Ronaldo had another shot beaten away by Stanek just before the break and a header deflected over shortly after the restart.

First appearing in Portugal's squad in 2004, Ronaldo made his Euro debut on home soil, scoring his first goal in the tournament against Czechia. Now, 20 years later, Portugal faced the same team in their opening match of Ronaldo's sixth championship.

"Today begins another chapter in our history. I fondly remember my first day with the national team, a journey full of challenges and victories. Now, I have the honor of being alongside a team of champions, full of talent and determination," Ronaldo said in a post on X.

"With everyone's strength and support, we turn dreams into reality. Let's, together, fight for another triumph. United, we are unstoppable. Go Portugal!"

Since his 2004 debut, Ronaldo has featured in every subsequent Portugal team since -- 2008, 2012, 2016, 2020 (played in 2021 due to COVID-19) and now 2024.

With 14 Euros goals, Ronaldo holds the record for the most goals by any player in the history of the competition, with his personal record being five goals in one campaign in the 2020 edition.

Also on Tuesday, Portugal centre-back Pepe became the oldest player in European Championship history aged 41 years and 113 days.

Pepe beats the previous record held by former Hungary goalkeeper Gábor Király, who was 40 years and 86 days old when he played in their Euro 2016 round-of-16 defeat by Belgium.

Despite Portugal's star-studded attacking lineup, which includes talents such as João Félix, Gonçalo Ramos and Rafael Leão, Ronaldo remains the team's most prolific striker and will captain the side for the tournament.

Portugal will also face Georgia and Turkey in Group F.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.

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