Portugal vs. France Prediction: Heavyweight Clash at Euro 2024

Written by: Greg Lea
Published July 4, 2024
6 min read
  • Portugal needed a penalty shoot-out to get past Slovenia in the round of 16

  • France continue to get the job done while resisting calls for attacking soccer

  • Only one of these teams will advance to the semi-finals of Euro 2024

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Portugal vs. France Pick

Back France to beat Portugal on Friday. Les Bleus have shown time and time again that they know what it takes to reach the latter stages of major tournaments. 

Bet on France (+140) at BetRivers 

Portugal vs France Euro 2024 Prediction

Portugal Face Cristiano Ronaldo Conundrum for Quarter-Final

At times during Portugal’s last-16 encounter against Slovenia, it was easy to forget that we were not actually watching the Cristiano Ronaldo Show. The 39-year-old, firmly established as one of the greatest soccer players the world has ever seen, grew increasingly desperate to make his mark on Euro 2024.

Things had not really gone his way beforehand. Ronaldo failed to score in any of Portugal’s three group games. Because they were already through, Roberto Martinez made eight changes for his team’s final match in Group F. Ronaldo, keen to open his account in Germany, was retained in the starting XI.

Against Slovenia, Ronaldo took every free-kick that was anywhere near the opposition's goal. He failed to score any of them and was handled well by the Slovenia defense in open play too. Then, in extra time, Ronaldo had a golden chance to score his first goal of the competition. Instead, Jan Oblak saved his penalty and Ronaldo burst into tears.

The Real Madrid and Manchester United icon recovered sufficiently to score his spot-kick in the shoot-out, which Portugal won 3-0. But there is now a major question mark over his status within the squad. To put it bluntly, the evidence suggests that Portugal would be a better team without Ronaldo in it.

Yet it is not as simple as dropping the 39-year-old, now based in Saudi Arabia, to the bench. Martinez will be wary of doing so given this may well be Ronaldo’s final international appearance. But the striker is hindering his team-mates, who feel they must always try to pass to him in the final third. That stymies Portugal’s attack.

All eyes will be on social media at around 2:00 PM ET on Friday when the team line-ups are announced.

Bet on Portugal vs France at BetRivers 

France Eye Another Semi-Final by Doing Things Their Way

France have no such selection dilemmas. The most high-profile player in their squad, Kylian Mbappe, is still at the peak of his powers at 25. The Real Madrid forward will once again be wearing a protective mask to look after his fractured nose, but there is no question over his involvement on Friday.

To the surprise of many, France could only manage a second-place finish in their group. They kicked things off with a 1-0 victory over Austria on matchday one, before back-to-back draws with the Netherlands (0-0) and Poland (1-0). Their failure to top Group D saw them end up on the tough side of the bracket, along with Portugal, Spain, and Germany.

France will thus need to do things the hard way if they are to get their hands on the European Championship trophy for a third time this summer. But they showed against Belgium in the round of 16 why they remain such formidable opponents at major tournaments.

France did not dazzle in that game. Their victory was by a slender 1-0 margin, with Belgium defender Jan Vertonghen responsible for the only goal of the game. Remarkably, les Bleus are yet to score from open play at Euro 2024. Two of their three goals came from opposition players, while the other was an Mbappe penalty.

Do not be fooled into writing them off, though. This is what France have done throughout the Deschamps era. They are a pragmatic side first and foremost, determined to keep things tight at the back. 

That is precisely what they have done in Germany up to now. Belgium, with the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Jeremy Doku, and Kevin De Bruyne to call upon, barely had a sniff against them last time out. Portugal will have to work hard to breach their backline too.

More Question Marks Over Portugal Than France Ahead of Game

If you compare the two squads player for player, there is not much to choose between them. As a collective, though, France are further ahead than Portugal. And that, ultimately, is what could determine the outcome of the match.

Portugal are likely to dominate possession, as Martinez’s teams usually do. France will not mind that too much. They tend to sit off fellow heavyweight opponents before breaking forward at speed. France have shown on numerous occasions under Deschamps that you can control soccer matches even when you do not have the ball.

This will probably not be a high-scoring encounter. There was just one goal across the two last-16 games involving both teams. Whoever takes the lead on Friday will be reasonably confident of holding onto it - especially if it is France.

Ronaldo looks set to start for Portugal, which makes their task even more difficult. France are a wily team with plenty of tournament knowhow. Back them to edge this quarter-final in Stuttgart.

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How to Watch Portugal vs. France

  • Teams: Portugal vs France

  • Location: MHPArena, Stuttgart, Germany

  • Date and Time: Friday, July 5, 3:00 PM ET 

  • How to Watch: FOX


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Greg Lea

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Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts.
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