Théo Hernandez hits the spot as France beat Portugal in shootout to progress

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Two teams who would not have scored all weekend finally found their range in the shootout but, eventually, somebody had to miss. It was harsh on João Félix that his aberration, a crisp but fractionally wayward penalty that rapped Mike Maignan’s right post, was decisive given he was not on the pitch for most of the fare that had preceded it. But it was fitting that this protracted, oddly absorbing tie went the distance and entirely in keeping with their performance over the past three weeks that France somehow pulled through.

Théo Hernandez ensured that, making it five successful conversions from five. As he stepped up Kylian Mbappé, withdrawn during extra time and clearly uncomfortable from an earlier blow to his broken nose, had crouched on the touchline and wrung his hands. The entire night had been imbued with an anxious, skittish, taut quality more befitting of a final. Mbappé watched his teammate convert and Spain now stand between him and the real thing.

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Written by Nick Ames at the Volksparkstadion Hamburg
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