QUARTER-FINAL 1: Portugal Defeat Poland On Penalties To Reach The Semis
The #EURO2016 semi-finals begin to take shape. Portugal first though… pic.twitter.com/XZLoyEW7O9
— UEFA EURO 2016 (@UEFAEURO) June 30, 2016
Poland and Portugal locked horns in the first quarter-final of Euro 2016, and the Portuguese emerged as winners, winning the game 5-3 on penalties.
Poland’s star striker Robert Lewandowski opened the scoring in the 2nd minute of the game, giving his country an early lead. This was the Bayern Munich striker’s first and only goal of the tournament.
The second goal of the game was also scored by a Bayern Munich player, as Renato Sanches equalized for Portugal via a deflected strike in the 33rd minute.
Following 2 hours of open football, the match remained tied at 1-1, taking the game to a penalty shootout.
Both sides managed to brilliantly convert the first three penalties for their respective sides, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Renato Sanches and Joao Moutinho scoring for Portugal, and Robert Lewandowski, Arkadiusz Milik and Kamil Glik doing the same for Poland.
Luis Nani scored the fourth from the spot for the Portuguese, but Jakub Blaszczykowski failed to follow suit for Poland, as his spot kick was saved by Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio’s full length dive, making the score 4-3.
Ricardo Quaresma then scored the 5th and final penalty for Portugal, winning the shootout 5-3, and taking his team to the semi-finals.
Portugal’s goal scorer Renato Sanches was named the man of the match for an impressive display. And thanks to his goal, the midfielder became the youngest player ever (at 18 years, 316 days) to score in the knockout stages of the Euros, and the third youngest overall to score in Euros history (behind Volanthen and Rooney).
He had the following to say in the post-match interview: “It is a wonderful moment for the team and for me for scoring. We have been working very hard and we have been doing our best. People criticise us but we don’t care because we are in the semis.”
Poland boss Adam Nawalka also had his say: “It’s definitely a tough moment for us. The players put a lot of heart into this match and played bravely throughout this tournament. We haven’t lost a match – we were knocked out on penalties. We have to look with optimism to the future and the European qualifiers. There will soon be time for detailed analysis but this defeat hurts.”
Portugal have now managed to reach the Euro semi-finals for the fifth time in their history. They will next face-off against either Belgium, or Wales, in Lyon on Wednesday, July 6.