Cancelo, Portugal cruise past Turkey, advance to Euro 2024 knockout stages


Cristiano Ronaldo and Joao Cancelo of Portugal
Cristiano Ronaldo and Joao Cancelo of Portugal celebrate their team's third goal scored by teammate Bruno Fernandes (not pictured) during the UEFA EURO 2024 group stage match between Turkiye and Portugal at Football Stadium Dortmund on June 22, 2024 in Dortmund, Germany. 

Barcelona loanees Joao Cancelo and Joao Félix will play in the Euro 2024 knockout stages as Portugal have clinched top spot in Group F with a game to spare thanks to a 3-0 win over Turkey in Dortmund on Saturday.

Turkey made a strong start with most of their attacks down the left wing trying to exploit Cancelo, who started at right-back and was beat by Kerem Aktürkoglu a few minutes into the game but the Turkish winger failed to convert the chance into a real shot on target.

Turkey played well and offered a threat for 10 minutes, but Portugal eventually took control and began creating real danger with a more classic 4-3-3 formation from manager Roberto Martínez and players in more familiar positions compared to the opening match, which led to a better work by the team in and out of possession.

Portugal’s superiority eventually turned into a goal as a cross from Nuno Mendes was deflected and fell perfectly to Bernardo Silva who fired home the opener; a few minutes later Cancelo made a bad pass looking for Cristiano Ronaldo, but a huge slice of luck led to the second goal as Samet Akaydin made a horrible backpass that went beyond the goalkeeper and over the line to double the Portuguese lead.

At halftime Portugal were comfortably up two goals and just 45 minutes away from winning the group, while Turkey desperately needed something to go their way in the final period to try and find a way back in the game.

Portugal were cruising to begin the second half, keeping possession while they waited for a chance to find the third goal that would kill things off. And that came 10 minutes into the period when a ball over the top by Rúben Neves found the run of Ronaldo, who gave Bruno Fernandes the easiest of tap-ins to triple the Portuguese advantage and end all Turkish hope.

Cancelo’s evening ended after 68 minutes as he was replaced by Nélson Semedo, and Martínez continued making changes looking for a comfortable finish to the evening with qualification and first place in the group already confirmed. Turkey tried launching some late attacks looking for a consolation goal but couldn’t find it, and the final whistle came to confirm an easy Portuguese victory.

After not convincing in the first game Portugual showed a lot of improvement in the second match and can now rest their best players in the group finale, and they will undoubtedly go into the Round of 16 as one of the favorites if Martínez learns the lessons from this game and keeps it simple going forward.

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