Portuguese goalkeeper sets Euro penalty save record

GOALKEEPER Diogo Costa became the first player to save three penalties in a single Euro match, as Portugal eliminated Slovenia in the round of 16.

Portugal drew 0-0 with Slovenia after 120 minutes, forcing a quarter-final ticket to be decided by a penalty shootout. Here, Costa defeated Josip Ilicic, Jure Balkovec and Benjamin Verbic. In the history of the Euro, no player has done as well as Costa.

Earlier, in the 115th minute of extra time, Costa used his foot to block a one-on-one shot from Benjamin Sesko.

The performance earned Costa his first man of the match award at the Euros. The Portuguese goalkeeper described the game at Deutsche Bank Park as the best of his life so far. "We analysed the way the opponents shot, but they changed," Costa said. "I followed my instincts."

Goalkeeper Diogo Costa saves Benjamin Verbic's penalty kick in the third round, helping Portugal beat Slovenia 3-0, in the round of 16 of Euro 2024. Photo: Reuters

The goalkeeper, who grew up at the Porto youth academy, is considered one of the best young goalkeepers in Europe. He was previously in the typical squad of the U17, U19, U21 European Championships, and the Portuguese national championship in the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 seasons.

Costa also holds the record for being the first goalkeeper to save three penalties in the 2022-23 Champions League campaign. For Porto, he beat Patrik Schick, Karem Dermibay of German club Bayer Leverkusen and Noa Lang of Belgian club Brugge.

Of the 22 penalties he faced, Costa saved 12, a rate of 54.5%. In addition to the six penalties mentioned above, Costa has saved three times in the Second Division, one in the National Cup and two in the Portuguese League Cup.

Portuguese players celebrate with Diogo Costa after winning the penalty shootout. Photo: UEFA

While Costa made a save, teammates Cristino Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes and Bernando Silva successfully converted the penalty shootout, helping Portugal win 3-0 to advance to meet France.

Costa assessed that Slovenia defended with all their might and caused many difficulties. Therefore, he had less work but more stress as he had to maintain concentration. Costa's brilliant performance also helped to alleviate Ronaldo's mistake of missing a penalty in the 105th minute, or Pepe's error of losing the ball that led to Sesko's chance in extra time.

Costa said: "We all make mistakes but what matters is what we do next. Ronaldo is a hard-working player and I understand the frustration. He is still an example to me and, as Pepe said, the Portuguese players here are like a family."

Key developments of Portugal's penalty shootout win over Slovenia in the round of 16 of Euro 2024.

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