Euro 2024, round of 16: Who is Diogo Costa, the goalkeeping hero of Portugal vs Slovenia penalty shootout?

Portugal beat Slovenia 3-0 in penalties to sail into the quarterfinals of the 2024 European Championships at the Frankfurt Arena in Germany on Sunday.

While Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal’s captain, redeemed himself in the shootout, after missing a penalty in extra-time, it was their goalkeeper Diogo Costa, who rose to fame, saving all three shots of Slovenia, off Josep Ilicic, Jure Balkovec and Benjamin Verbic.

This was Portugal’s fourth win through penalty shootouts in major competitions and the first with Costa between the sticks.

With Porto legend Vítor Baía as his idol, Costa grew up in central Porto and joined the youth academy of Porto in 2011. He rose through the ranks at the club, breaking into the reserve side in 2017 and later making his senior team debut in 2019.

Real Madrid and Spain legend Iker Casillas, who won the FIFA World Cup 2010, once heaped praises about the goalkeeper, while playing for Porto’s first team.

“I’m trying to do things well to help FC Porto, because the competition is fierce, especially with Vaná and Fabiano, who are great goalkeepers. But right behind him comes a star, Diogo Costa, who I think will be a great goalkeeper,” he had told Portuguese website Ojogo.

For the National team, he has been a standout performer with the youth sides, winning the under-17 and the under-19 European Championships in 2016 and 2018, respectively. He had also reached the final of the under-21 Euros three years ago, losing 0-1 to Germany.

For the senior side, he made his senior debut in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers 2022 against Qatar in 2021, securing a clean sheet as Portugal won the match 3-0. A year later, he became the youngest goalkeeper from his country to play in a major tournament, starting in Portugal’s match against Ghana in the FIFA World Cup.

At the Euros this time in Germany, his heroics contributed significantly as Portugal surpassed the barrier which had knocked it out in the last edition, the round of 16, wherein Belgium had shown it the door, three years ago.

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