Bizarre own goal helps Portugal qualify for Euro 2024 knockouts after victory against Turkey

A bizarre own goal from Turkey’s Samet Akaydin helped Portugal qualify for the knockout stages of Euro 2024, thanks to its 3-0 Group F victory on Saturday.

The Turkish defender unwittingly passed the ball into his own net to double Portugal’s lead after Bernando Silva had opened the scoring for the 2016 Euros champion. Bruno Fernandes sealed the three points from close range in the 55th minute.

The victory means that Portugal has two wins from its first two Group F games, booking its place in the round of 16. Meanwhile, Turkey sits in second in the group after a win and a defeat from its opening matches.

Saturday’s game was played in a frenzied atmosphere in Dortmund’s BVB Stadion, with the stadium largely full of Turkey fans.

Both sides seemed to feed off the energy with fast starts, with Portugal making the most of that early momentum through Manchester City’s Silva, who opened the scoring when he slammed home a left-footed strike in the 21st minute.

Bernardo Silva scores Portugal's first goal against Turkey. - Leon Kuegeler/Reuters
Bernardo Silva scores Portugal's first goal against Turkey. - Leon Kuegeler/Reuters

And just minutes later, Portugal doubled its lead in bizarre fashion.

A wayward pass from Portugal rolled to the feet of Akaydin and, under no pressure from an opposing player, the defender aimed a pass back to where he thought his goalkeeper Altay Bayındır was stood.

Unfortunately for Akaydin, Bayındır had come out to claim the pass meaning the ball trickled agonizingly past the keeper before rolling over the line, despite the best efforts of Zeki Çelik to clear it.

Although Turkey pressed to find a way back into the game, Portugal – who was seen by many as one of the favorites to challenge for the title – found a third when Cristiano Ronaldo broke the defensive line and unselfishly squared the ball to Fernandes to tap in.

Portugal’s spot in the next round is assured but Turkey’s hopes depend on its final group game against Czech Republic on Wednesday.

Group F: Georgia keeps Euro 2024 dream alive

Czech Republic denied Georgia its first ever victory at a major international tournament, as the two teams drew 1-1 in its Group F encounter on Saturday.

Georges Mikautadze scored the opening goal of the game at Volksparkstadion in Hamburg, slotting home a penalty on the stroke of half time. The spot kick was awarded for a handball on Czech Republic’s Robin Hranáč, after the video assistant referee (VAR) recommended on-field referee Daniel Siebert consult the pitch-side screen.

Czech Republic equalized on the hour mark, though, after Patrik Schick prodded home at the back post to level the scores.

Euro 2024 is Georgia’s debut appearance at a major international soccer tournament and although it showed glimpses of promise in its opening Group F game on Tuesday, it eventually lost 3-1 against Turkey.

It was Czech Republic who began Saturday’s match the brightest, with Adam Hložek bundling the ball into the Georgia goal in the 22nd minute, only for his effort to be ruled out for a handball from the 21-year-old forward.

Then, just seconds before half time, it was Hranáč’s handball which gave Georgia, the lowest-ranked team at the tournament, the opportunity to take the lead.

Mikautadze celebrates after scoring against Czech Republic. - Julian Finney/Getty Images
Mikautadze celebrates after scoring against Czech Republic. - Julian Finney/Getty Images

Having gone ahead, Georgia was able to stay in front largely thanks to the inspired performance from its goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili.

The 23-year-old, who plays for Spanish club Valencia, made a number of saves, notably denying Czech striker Schick with an athletic stop moments after his side went ahead.

Schick did eventually get his goal midway through the second half but Czech Republic was unable to find a winner in what would have been its first victory of the tournament.

In truth, it was Georgia who could have stolen all three points with the final kick of the game, but Saba Lobzhanidze blazed over from close range, with many of his teammates collapsing to the floor in dismay.

Both sides now have one point each, needing to win their final group game to stand any chance of progression into the knockout stages.

Group E: Belgium gets off the mark

Later on Saturday, Belgium bounced back from its disappointing start to Euro 2024 with a 2-0 win against Romania.

Youri Tielemans helped banish the demons left by Belgium’s surprising defeat to Slovakia last time out, smashing home from the edge of the box to give The Red Devils the lead in the second minute.

Belgium looked much improved throughout the game in Cologne, creating numerous opportunities to extend its lead. The country’s all-time top goal scorer Romelu Lukaku thought he had done exactly that when he slotted home midway through the second half, only for it to be ruled out for offside; it was Lukaku’s third disallowed goal of the tournament.

The second goal did eventually arrive though, with captain Kevin De Bruyne finishing past an on-rushing Florin Niță in the Romania goal in the 79th minute.

The result means all four teams in Group E have three points apiece with one game remaining. Belgium plays Ukraine and Romania faces Slovakia on Wednesday, with qualification for the knockout stages on the line.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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