Portugal Off to the Last 4

- Portugal Off to the Last 4 -

uefa euro 2016 - quarter-finals

Poland 1 - 1* Portugal
Lewandowski 2' (3 - 5) Pen. Sanches 33'

Portugal is in the semi-finals! Fernando Santos’ men defeated Poland in penalties and now await the winner of the match between Belgium and Wales. Portugal continue in the tournament without a win within 90 minutes, after 3 group stage draws and a win over Croatia in extra time in the Round of 16.

Poland got off to a flying start with Lewandowski putting them ahead in the 2nd minute of play. Grosicki’s cross was well struck by the Bayern Munich’s star, giving his side the early lead. Poland continued to look the better team after the goal, as they pressed Portugal in their half. But in the 33rd minute, on Portugal’s first real chance of the game, Sanches pulled his nation level with a fantastic left-footed shot that beat Fabianski. With neither team creating a chance in the final 10 minutes of the half, the teams went into halftime tied 1-1. Both sides missed opportunities to find the go-ahead goal, however neither team found the back of the net. Ronaldo missed the greatest opportunity late in the game, but he failed to connect with the volley and the game went into extra time. In the extra period, both teams played conservatively and the match went into the penalty shootout. Ronaldo successfully converted his first penalty and the next 6 shooters each converted from the spot.With Portugal ahead 4-3 Patricio saved Blasczykowski’s penalty and Quaresma followed with a great penalty to send Portugal to the semi-finals.

After 3 group stage draws (progressed as one of the best 3rd placed teams), an extra time win over Croatia in the round of 16, and today’s win in penalties, Portugal remains winless in normal 90 minute regulation. Santos has implemented his defensive tactics with Portugal, similar to what we saw during his stay with Greece (and Greek club teams), and it seems to be working as Portugal now sit in the semi-finals. They will play the winner of the match between Wales and Belgium. Poland will see Euro 2016 as a success reaching the quarterfinals of the competition.

Image Source: theguardian.com
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