Portugal have advanced past Poland to the semifinals of Euro 2-16 courtesy of Ricardo Quaresma’s match-winning penalty in a penalty shootout.
The match finished 1-1 after 120 minutes of play. After an early goal by Robert Lewandowski in the 2nd minute, the second earliest in Euro history, it seemed like this game was going to be an electric affair.
And for a little bit it proved to be. Portugal grew into the game with confident possession. They looked likely to score, and in the 33rd minute Renato Sanches did.
It looked at first to be an absolutely stunning goal by Bayern Munich’s brand new 18-year-old signing, but some of its luster was lost upon replay, when a deflection became evident.
From then on there really wasn’t much action. The most stunning event was a miss: Cristiano Ronaldo found himself through on goal in the 85th minute, wide open, with a chance to win, but he completely whiffed on the ball.
In the ensuing penalty shootout, after 30 uneventful minutes of extra time, Ronaldo got Portugal off to a good start by drilling the opening penalty. Poland’s Lewandowski responded and what followed was a classically tense shootout. Ronaldo could be seen overcome by the drama, peeking between his teammates as penalty takers took their shots, and jumping and fist pumping as his teammates succeeded.
Poland’s Jakub Błaszczykowski will have a hard time sleeping tonight. He missed the only penalty of the shootout, and immediately after his miss Ricardo Quaresma converted the winner. Penalty shootouts are always cruel, but none more so than those in which only one player misses. Błaszczykowski will feel the sting of this for quite some time.
But Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo are through, and they won’t waste anytime pitying their opponents when they have a semi-final looming on the horizon.
Portugal will take on the winner of Wales vs Belgium, meaning a Ronaldo vs Bale semifinal is in the cards.
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