Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo is consoled after missing a penaltyPortugal's Cristiano Ronaldo is consoled after missing a penalty (Image: PA)

Euro View – Marc Iles

ON one hand, the Euros has been one big exercise in self-indulgence for Cristiano Ronaldo, on the other, perhaps we should savour every second of a generational talent taking his final bow on the grand stage one final time?

The tears shed on Monday night at the final whistle were a reminder that this cocksure superhero of chiselled sinew and muscle is indeed human. But then his dwindling contributions for Portugal at this tournament have also been a reminder that time waits for absolutely nobody.

Put simply and rather harshly, Ronaldo should not have been out there to take the penalty, saved by Slovenia’s Jan Oblak. And he certainly shouldn’t have still been around to take his turn and get some redemption in the shootout.

For the last four games now he has been the biggest boy in the playground. There are younger players in better form around him, but he is untouchable, and he owns the ball, so he decides what goes.

Indulging him to such a degree has become a difficult watch, and it does not reflect well on Roberto Martinez and his staff. Quite why he was sent back out in extra time in such a state, God only knows, and his impact whilst the game continued to its conclusion was minimal. Slovenia very nearly snatched the game and once Benjamin Šeško missed that golden chance, you just knew what was coming next.

Then, an unexpected moment of humility. You would quite expect Ronaldo to milk the spotlight after scoring his penalty but instead we got a muted celebration, and an apology towards the Portugal supporters. Such examples are rare in a career which has been fuelled with bravado and backed up with such phenomenal scoring numbers.

And at that moment you are moved to remember, this might be the last major tournament for a player who – like or loathe him – has been one of the finest to walk the planet in the last two decades.

He has nothing really left to win, no more records to break, but he still plays the game with passion even though his body is nothing like as capable as it once was. It must have been what it was like watching Ali in his final fights.

Over in the US, Leo Messi is taking his victory lap with Argentina at the Copa America, typically with fewer headlines and rather less drama.

Is there a world where these two incredible gladiators are both victorious this summer? Could the footballing scriptwriters really conjure such a fantastical plot?

I am lucky enough to say I saw them both at their peak, and even had the luxury of watching Maradona at his pomp too. Maybe we shouldn’t be in such a rush to see them shuffle out of the spotlight?

Jordan Pickford speaks to the press on MondayJordan Pickford speaks to the press on Monday (Image: PA)

England View – Marc Iles

I simply don’t buy this siege mentality complex which seems to have been adopted by England’s players at the Euros.

In the past few tournaments there has been something to like about Gareth Southgate’s squad, you could see an effort being made to break down the walls which were often put up by previous managers. The players looked relaxed, happy to be representing their country.

Now we are talking about the pressure of playing for England as if it is something different to the stresses and strains of playing at the top of the Premier League, Bundesliga or La Liga every single week? Do me a favour.

No England player can tell me, with a straight face, that the performances in the four games so far have been to the standard they would wish. And it would be a very brave soul to claim they can continue like this all the way to the final.

They were a couple of minutes away from an embarrassing defeat on Sunday. Two moments of quality made the difference and I dearly hope that now provides a spark, that this weekend we can be talking about a good performance and a result against Switzerland.

Unless I have missed a rogue media outlet running down England at every opportunity, I have only seen fair and balanced reporting of the games so far. A lot worse has been uttered in the packed pubs and bars over the last couple of weeks, and I dare say by the folk who have forked out huge sums to watch them in Germany too.

And why would they care, anyhow? They are in the quarter-final of the European Championships on the favourable side of the draw and one of the favourites to win the whole shebang. It is lunacy to think that they would pay attention to any social media or left-field unqualified opinion when so much is at stake.

My advice: Forget the moaners, concentrate on getting it right on the pitch.

Tempers flare between France's Kylian Mbappe (right) and Belgium's Jan VertonghenTempers flare between France's Kylian Mbappe (right) and Belgium's Jan Vertonghen (Image: PA)

Euro View – Marc Iles

A classless celebration from Kylian Mbappe didn’t mask over another unconvincing performance from France against Belgium.

If your first reaction to going ahead in the final minutes of a European Championship game is to mock the defender whose deflection took it past his own keeper, then maybe loosen the straps a bit because you are not thinking straight.

Mbappe hasn’t looked right since breaking his nose in the opening game against Austria and had five shots at goal on Monday night, none of which hit the target.

France have struggled, not to the same degree as England, but this is not a team that is coming close to their attacking potential.

William Saliba continues to ooze class at the back, and I have been really impressed with Theo Hernandez and Ngolo Kante, but the French have shown very little invention going forward, which is a massive surprise considering the riches they have at their disposal.

You had to feel for Manchester City’s Jeremy Doku, who had virtually taken France on single-handedly at times in the game. I have often struggled to see what the fuss is all about when he plays in the Premier League but that was some shift he put in.

Being honest, Belgium have looked a team on the wane. Kevin De Bruyne has looked frustrated and Romelu Lukaku’s finishing has been nothing short of atrocious.

Had there not been an own goal to settle it, I am fairly sure France and Belgium could still be playing now and the score would be 0-0.

The way their next opponents Portugal have wasted chances at this tournament, the quarter final does not look like being a high-scoring Friday night thriller either.

I just hope they manage to sort out the pitches for the last few rounds. I know there has been some bad weather in Germany but the way the surfaces are breaking up at some stadia has been inexcusable.