— UEFA EURO 2016 (@UEFAEURO) July 7, 2016
The first semi-final of the Euro 2016 tournament was played between Portugal and Wales, which the Portuguese won 2-0.
The game remained goalless for the first 45 minutes, but five minutes into the second half, it was none other than Cristiano Ronaldo who scored the opener with a brilliant header to give his side the lead.
And just three minutes later, Ronaldo’s former Manchester United teammate Nani doubled the lead for Portugal, making the score 2-0.
Ronaldo was named the man of the match for his stand-out display, and the Portugal captain also broke numerous records on the night.
The Real Madrid superstar not only became the first player to play in three Euro semi-finals (2004, 2012, 2016), but also made his 20th appearance in the European Championships – three more than any other player (Gianluigi Buffon and Bastian Schweinsteiger have made 17).
And thanks to his 50th minute goal against the Welsh, the 31-year-old also equalled Michel Platini’s record of scoring nine Euros goals.
Wales boss Chris Coleman expressed huge pride despite being knocked out of the competition, and stated: “I can’t say I’m disappointed with any of my players. They’ve all been fantastic.
“The first goal in a game like this, the team that scores it gets a huge boost in confidence, and for us to concede again so quickly afterwards, it’s a huge disappointment.
“I said at half-time, Portugal have paid us a huge compliment by setting up in the way they did, to deny us space, but you have to congratulate them. They had a plan and it worked. They played as a team and once they’d got the two goals it was too difficult for us. We couldn’t do it tonight.”
Portugal manager Fernando Santos also had good things to say about the Welshmen: “Chris Coleman is a great coach, his team was very well organised, they made it very difficult for us. They had a great run. Two years ago we set a goal for ourselves, myself and the players, that we’d be here two years later. With a lot of unity, cooperation and effort we’ve reached that goal. Now we have a final to play.
“The final on Sunday will be the highest point in my career so far. Professionally speaking it’s like any other moment… but it’s my flag, my fatherland, my family, my friends, from a personal point of view it’s hugely important. Two teams face off tomorrow, I’ll try to analyse our opponent, like I said, we’re in it to win it.”
Portugal have now progressed through to the final, where they will face either the hosts France, or World Champions Germany, in Paris this Sunday.