Ricardo Quaresma made the difference once more for Portugal against Poland in Marseille. This time scoring the winning penalty to send Portugal into the semi-finals.

Robert Lewandowski opened the scoring for Poland after just 2 minutes. Renato Sanches equalised on his first start for Portugal after half an hour. The game went into extra time once again and then onto penalties.

Jakub Błaszczykowski was the unlucky Poland player to have his penalty saved, after Cristiano Ronaldo, Renato Sanches, João Moutinho and Nani all dispatched theirs.

 

Fernando Santos made two changes from the side that left it late against Croatia. Eliseu replaced Raphael Guerreiro at left back and the impressive Renato Sanches made his first Portugal start ahead of André Gomes.

Early breakthrough for Poland

Portugal made the worst possible start to the game when Kamil Grosicki darted down the left wing within 2 minutes. His cross found none other than Robert Lewandowski to finish from close range. There was nothing Rui Patrício could do on his 50th appearance for the selecção.

It was Adam Nawalka's side who started the better ahead of Fernando Santos' team in Marseille. Portugal struggled to get keep hold of the ball.

It was only at the half hour mark when Portugal woke up. Cristiano Ronaldo provided the first real attempt on Łukasz Fabiański's goal after Nani did well to recover the ball.

Portugal then had a big shout for a penalty when Michał Pazdan looked to have pushed Cristiano Ronaldo in the area. German referee Felix Brych waved away the appeal.

Renato Sanches equalises

Portugal's fortune changed in the 33rd minute when Nani and Renato Sanches shared a 1-2, then the impressive youngster shot from the edge of the area. The shot took a slight deflection off Grzegorz Krychowiak and past Fabianski to fire Portugal level.

In the second half Portugal were far more dominant in possession with Poland unable to move the ball around as they had early on in the game. However, despite the possession, it was difficult for Portugal to break the Poles down.

Both sides became gradually more cagey as the game went on, the most notable moment for Portugal was when Cristiano Ronaldo missed his cue after an impressive chipped through ball from substitute João Moutinho.

Late on Fernando Santos brought on Ricardo Quaresma for João Mário to try and increase Portugal's attacking threat.

The only action of significance before the full time whistle came in stoppage time William Carvalho picked up a yellow card, to put him out of the semi-finals.

There was a similar pattern to the game into extra time. For Portugal, it was very much memories of the Croatia game. Danilo Pereira came on to replace William Carvalho midway through the first half for Fernando Santos final change.

Poland improved in the second half and looked more likely to score. However the most memorable moment was when an ill-advised fan ran on the pitch. He was stopped as he ran into an already congested midfield.

Penalties beckon

So it was to be penalties. Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up first, not content to be the fifth man this time. Ronaldo scored, that will help him ease the burden of a few missed chances in the game. Lewandowski stepped up for Poland's first but Rui Patrício was unable to save.

Next the young Renato Sanches. He showed no signs of nerves though and thundered his penalty into the top left hand corner. It capped off another outstanding display for the man who will be at Bayern Munich next season. Arkadiusz Milik equalised for Poland. Moutinho scored next but Kamil Glik scored his too. Nani stepped up next, he stuttered in the run up but calmly slotted home.

Jakub Błaszczykowski faced Patrício next. Up to that point the Sporting goalkeeper had been seen all of Poland's penalties easily despatched. This time however, Patrício dived to his left to palm the midfielder's penalty away.

So, it was down to Ricardo Quaresma to win the game for Portugal. He certainly made the difference against Croatia. He did again against Poland, beating Fabiański and sending Portugal into the semi-final.

Once again, Portugal weren't at their best and again they got lucky. Fernando Santos will certainly be happy if they can be lucky just 2 more times before the end.

Cristiano Ronaldo had another frustrating evening but the likes of Renato Sanches and Pepe stood out for Portugal. There’s still something not clicking in the final third but their control of games has been impressive so far.

Next up for Portugal will be either Belgium or Wales with the media no doubt eager to see a Ronaldo vs. Gareth Bale stand-off.

by Richard Cole

Poland XI: Łukasz Fabiański; Łukasz Piszczek, Michał Pazdan, Kamil Glik, Artur Jędrzejczyk; Jakub Błaszczykowski, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Krzysztof Mączyński (Tomasz Jodłowiec, 97'), Kamil Grosicki (Bartosz Kapustka, 82'); Arkadiusz Milik, Robert Lewandowski

Portugal XI: Rui Patrício; Cédric Soares, José Fonte, Pepe, Eliseu; João Mário (Ricardo Quaresma, 80'), William Carvalho (Danilo Pereira, 95'), Adrien Silva (João Moutinho, 73'), Renato Sanches; Nani, Cristiano Ronaldo

 

Comments (45)

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Portugal strikes ones again!

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Tense affair. Pepe was a MONSTER! Sanches also had a very very good game, who is this Pogba guy again? lol. I will not fault Cedric for his mistake because he played fantastic afterwards. Fonte and William had good games as well. Mario had nice...

Tense affair. Pepe was a MONSTER! Sanches also had a very very good game, who is this Pogba guy again? lol. I will not fault Cedric for his mistake because he played fantastic afterwards. Fonte and William had good games as well. Mario had nice touches and looked to create and push forward but his final ball was lacking more often than not I find. Eliseu makes me nervous but he certainly had a better game than vs Hungary. An off day for Ronaldo in front of goal but he worked hard and made dangerous runs while also opening space for other players. Should have had a PK when Glik barged him to the ground. Nani played well but gave the ball away cheaply far too often. Moutinho played like the player we were use to seeing, perhaps being a sub will suit him best as he has a lot of energy and great vision. Ronaldo should have scored from his great over the shoulder pass. All in all, GREAT to see us progress to the semi final.

VAMOOOOOOSSS PORTUGAL!!!!!!

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Actually, upon closer inspection, it was Pazdan, not Glik. My mistake.

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Another draw after 90 minutes. Back to back 120 minute games. We even had to go to penalties... But who cares, it's another win and that is all that matters . Semi-Finals, here we come! :)
- Going to give some general thoughts and then I'll...

Another draw after 90 minutes. Back to back 120 minute games. We even had to go to penalties... But who cares, it's another win and that is all that matters . Semi-Finals, here we come! :)
- Going to give some general thoughts and then I'll discuss each player. (Warning: going to be detailed)

1. I didn't like the first 20 minutes or so. Nani had clearly been instructed to defend very deep and wide, leaving Ronaldo isolated up top. It didn't seem like we were playing a 442 at the start. It looked more like a 4141 (especially in defence) and we had no support up top for a while.
2. This current team is very strong mentally and they always believe they can come back. However, if we ever go down 1-0 in the 1st half, it's crucial that we get an equaliser before half time. The confidence levels rise a lot after half time.
3. I hate it when Ronaldo cracks it at his own team mates. If he was single handedly carrying the team and every player was letting him down, then ok I understand. But some situations are ridiculous. The one big example is when William didn't pass the ball to him one time and he lost his shit. (Photo Included) Just relax Cristiano, your chances will come (just like they did today).
4. I'm grateful that the team practiced penalties. That's all, I'm just grateful.
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Rui Patricio: He couldn't do anything for the goal and went on to make some solid saves throughout. And then, THAT SAVE in the shootout. What a hero.
Cedric: Misjudged the ball for the goal but moved on quickly and had a great game. Some of his tackles were very important and that long shot in the 2nd half was so close.
Pepe: After struggling in his first 2 games, our best defender has come to play. Back to back MOTM performances. So many crucial interceptions and helps cover for Fonte with his pace.
Fonte: At first, I was confused why Ricardo Carvalho lost his place as he was doing well (for the most part). While I don't see much difference between them, Fonte has been very solid and I feel more comfortable with him at the back (more height and mobility). He had a chance from a corner late on but hit it straight at the keeper. Also, he can last 120 mins (not sure if Carvalho can?).
Eliseu: Offensively, he was shocking. Cross after cross missed the target and he was very predictable. This is where we miss Rapha. However, defensively I was impressed, considering he was marking Poland's must dangerous player. While Rapha is clearly still superior, Eliseu did just enough tonight but at least he gave his all to the cause.

William Carvalho: Protected the defence really win and was great on the ball. The chemistry with Adrien was obvious and I like the Sporting midfield. His lack of pace was evident at times, especially when he copped his yellow. He's unfortunately going to miss the semi final but depending on Danilo's performance, I expect him to be back for the Final (if we make it).
Joao Mario: Another disappointing game for him. I don't want to sit here and pick out negatives of his performance. All I'm saying is if Andre Gomes is fit, he 100% starts next week.
Adrien: Very energetic in midfield and always on the heels of the Poland midfielders. He had a shot going on target but it was blocked. I like him and William together but I think Moutinho might be starting again next week. Also, it's really good to depth like this. Ran his socks off and was then subbed; love his commitment on the pitch.
Renato Sanches: I'm the same age as this guy and I'm speechless. He is simply a beast. Struggled in the first 20 and his distribution is still off at times, which is why he should start wide and not through the middle. Took his goal well on his left after a great forward run and 1-2 with Nani. I loved his energy all game and his versatility to play through the middle and on each flank. Great penalty too, the best of the bunch.

Ronaldo: Another one of those nights. CR7 just didn't take his chances and his frustration grew as the game went on (something I don't like). He should have earned a penalty and he was a threat all game but didn't get that goal. Loved that he stepped up as the 1st penalty taker and dispatched it into the corner. I love Ronaldo, our captain and his time is coming.
Nani: This guy has been a revelation this tournament. It seems that Nani really does thrive on the big stage, which is good considering CR7 is performing below par. That assist to Renato was just class. The movement off the ball and the 1st time flick back to the youngster; I loved it. Nani also created many chances (for CR7) and I feel like he still gets hate if he doesn't score or assist. I'm gonna quickly list them (the ones I can remember):
- Works hard to win the ball off Piszczek and plays the ball to Ronaldo at the top of the box. At this moment, I have NO IDEA how Ronaldo doesn't play the ball back to him. If he did, the game's 1-1 but Ronaldo takes a shot = straight at the keeper. Imagine if the roles were reversed... (Photo Included)
- Put the cross in for Ronaldo when he had the penalty claim wrongly disallowed.
- Played a left footed cross straight to Ronaldo in the box and he has 'another' air swing. ;)
- Played through Ronaldo down the line. Ball should have been squared to Joao Mario but Ronaldo first time hits it with his left into the side netting.
- Another cross to Ronaldo in the box that just goes over him.
There were at least 4 good chances made for Ronaldo. Nani also had a 30 yard left footed strike later on; went straight to the GK. If he scored, that would have been 'vintage Nani'. He tired as the game went on as he's played two 120 min games in a row. Need a big game from him next week to get us over the line.
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Quaresma: Honestly, he didn't have a great impact once coming on. He needed to get involved more and demand the ball from others. Put in one good corner which Fonte got to but other than that, his delivery was poor. But I don't care, I love Quaresma and he scored our winning penalty. He has been our hero 2 games in a row now. I feel he's gonna have a big impact (off the bench) next game.
Moutinho: Had a great impact on the bench and pushed for the starting spot next week. Tidy with the ball as always and looked to attack and be positive. That ball over the top to Ronaldo reminded me of "in form" Moutinho; I liked it. Scored his penalty too, so no complaints. :p
Danilo: Just came on for an exhausted William and solidified the defence. I just hope he plays well next week as he's a guaranteed starter after William coping another yellow. Danilo makes me have more confidence in our defence yet on the ball he offers less than William.
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Wow, that was long. I'm so happy and just relieved that we won. C'mon Portugal!!! #POR
Twitter = Marcus7170

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Congratulations to Santos!
The hero of the match- Rui Patricio!
(what a save)
Well done lad!- Sanches first start and goal
The security team- Pepe was a beast!
The injectors- Moutunho and Quaersma

Sad parts?

The whinner- Ronaldo
(though he was...

Congratulations to Santos!
The hero of the match- Rui Patricio!
(what a save)
Well done lad!- Sanches first start and goal
The security team- Pepe was a beast!
The injectors- Moutunho and Quaersma

Sad parts?

The whinner- Ronaldo
(though he was robbed of a penalty)

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Pepe was by far the man of the match. If it wasn't for him Portugal would be out of this tournament. Most Spaniards concur that he was Madrid's best defender this season. In my opinion, he is the best defender in the world. Cedric despite...

Pepe was by far the man of the match. If it wasn't for him Portugal would be out of this tournament. Most Spaniards concur that he was Madrid's best defender this season. In my opinion, he is the best defender in the world. Cedric despite misjudging the ball which led to the goal had a flawless game afterwards. Eliseu is slow and vulnerable, hopefully Guerreiro will be available next game.

The reason Portugal has had trouble in the final third is that its midfielders have seldom tried to penetrate the final third. Renato penetrated and hooked up with Nani and scored. When Joao Mario goes forward scoring chances occur. Yes Joao Mario has been a disappointment, however I believe he is too talented to leave on the bench. We will miss William Carvalho the next game. Danilo is good at winning the ball back but his passing skills are inferior to William. Adrien worked hard left the field panting. Moutinho did well when he came on. Renato will be leading Portugal for many years.

Nani had one of his better games. Quaresma was terrible crossing the ball, but like Nani he must be congratulated on calmly converting his penalty.
Ronaldo won many balls in the air with huge leaps, which tells me that physically he is fine, however his timing is off. I just wish he would stop complaining when things don't go his way.

I suspect Sporting will be getting a few offers for Rui Patricio after this tournament.

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What a game!
This team has a rare resilience i really don't ever remember seeing from years past. For a long time Portugal always seemed to outplay the opponent by a wide margin but then lack the composure and luck to get it done. Lots of work to...

What a game!
This team has a rare resilience i really don't ever remember seeing from years past. For a long time Portugal always seemed to outplay the opponent by a wide margin but then lack the composure and luck to get it done. Lots of work to do but I'm amazed at how many times this side has looked down and out and finds a way to claw there way back. I couldn't care less what people are negatively saying about this side because they have earned there spot in the Semis as far as I'm concerned.

I thought Nani was awesome today. I have been critical on him in the past but he was spectacular today and deserves a lot of credit for todays outcome. Amazes me Sanches is only 18, kid is legit and played awesome. He took his goal beautifully and to step up and drill that penalty under that pressure was impressive. I felt defensively the team really tightened up after the early goal and did a great job shutting down some very skilled and dangerous attackers from Poland. Ronaldo had a tough afternoon but to his credit this is a new Ronaldo. When he's not clicking offensively he is now contributing on the other phases. He is not moping around midfield like in years past. I watched him sprint back on numerous occasions and help take the pressure off the defence and also help with some great
defensive clearances of Polish corners. His Goals will come

What can I say about Quaresma? Guy has nerves of steel and some serious balls. I knew as soon as they left the huddle he would've volunteered to shoot last. Glad he's finally coming through for the national side. However unlike some I do think he should be starting. Im a big believer in having your best 11 on the field and then you create the tactics to suit them. Quaresma is clearly the top 1 on 1 player we have now that Ronaldo is no longer menacing on the wing and I really believe as well as Santos has been one major mistake is putting him in at midfield. If your going to do that don't play him at all. He is a major liability there and over the past 5 games we have been lucky that his lack of defensive skills as well as brutal aerial game (loses every jump ball, counted 4 just in extra time) haven't cost us. He should be swapped with Nani and all of them should be starting. Nani is much more physical and capable of defending and on the flip side I think Quaresma is more dangerous attacking higher up the pitch and seems to have the best chemistry with Ronaldo also. All three should be playing and starting a Mario or Gomes instead is a big downgrade. If this was the case I think we would then be playing with the lead instead of throwing him on late and hoping he can save the day. The guys phenomenal but he's always going to be purely attacking minded so make a lineup that suits him and get him on the field for more than 20 minutes and I think were better for it.

Regardless i think this team has what it takes and can't wait for the Semis.

Cheers

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Happy we got the win.

As others have mentioned Pepe had a solid game both defensively and offensively. I recall that one moment he made an interception and charged up the field and delivered a through ball for Ronaldo that the Polish defender...

Happy we got the win.

As others have mentioned Pepe had a solid game both defensively and offensively. I recall that one moment he made an interception and charged up the field and delivered a through ball for Ronaldo that the Polish defender barely just cut out. It nearly resulted in an own goal but me thinks if it reached Ronaldo, goal would be written all over it.

Although.. I think some of the luck we were missing earlier in the tournament has kindly swung in our favor. Sanches' strike for instance deflected just enough to fly beyond the reach of Fabianski. Before that point, Portugal looked like conceding on every counter attack and nobody picked up Lewandowski on his goal. I think Fonte is primarily at fault there plus some aerial challenges Fonte was involved in put the ball at the feet of Poland's front man. Pepe and Fonte also both attempted to cut out the same cross at one point.. there is just a lack of communication. For the semi-final Ricardo Carvalho's experience and reading of the game would be very beneficial. I know you guys are probably thinking OK he's 38 and you're all just anticipating for the moment his legs go and he self implodes but except for the Hungary game.. where he was a tad below par due to obvious fatigue.. Carvalho really hasn't put a foot wrong for Portugal. He will go down as one of the greatest defenders of all time and we could use him now with the added rest.

Starting Renato was a forced move from Santos IMO, due to Andre Gomes' injury and likely not wanting to rush Moutinho back into a grueling 90 to 120 minutes of play. I still think he's better coming off the bench. His energetic style of play is much more noticeable when the opposing players are tired and he could partially be the reason why we didn't control the midfield as much as the majority of us would have liked. At 18, he's a loose cannon / impact player like CR was back in the day and not yet settled as one who is team orientated. Moutinho looked good when he substituted in.. kept the ball flowing and did his best to penetrate the stubborn Polish back line. His experience and continuity is still important and should be considered for the line-up next game.

Not impressed with Ronaldo.. he takes so much sh*t from the media, I prefer not to add to the criticism but today is one of those days where it's merited. Stands around all game, we were fortunate to tie it up when we did because Fabianski had all day to keep the ball between him and his center backs if desired. Then when Nani and co puts it on a plate for him.. the ball gets stuck in his feet or he completely whiffs at it. Just like the Iceland game, when virtually the same exact chance (overhead ball) was presented I knew he'd screw it up yet again. Also, when there's a poor pass and the ball doesn't reach he vents and his emotions easily get the best of him. I understand he's 31 now and all good things come to an end but there has to be something left in that tank. He looks depleted. Come on man.. Figo went until 34. I saw Ronnie press the ball maybe once in extra time. Whether he still can I don't know but if he would Portugal could appear so much more of a threat. Anyone who watched our game vs. Croatia.. tell me you saw 30-year old Mandzukic run his ass off and constantly put pressure on our defence. That is called 100% effort. So could it be an ego problem with Ronaldo.. who knows?

At least he learned his lesson and didn't go for glory in the shootout this time. Obrigado Patricio for the clutch save and Quaresma for sealing the victory once again. All of our penalty shots were well taken. Congratulations to all the players and we move on. The dream is still alive. Força Portugal!

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The face of that referee looked like he is a genius,but he was not.His performance was so pathetic.Even a blind man will do better than this.From where UEFA got this kind of man!What was he doing when Ronaldo was pushed on to the ground?He is not...

The face of that referee looked like he is a genius,but he was not.His performance was so pathetic.Even a blind man will do better than this.From where UEFA got this kind of man!What was he doing when Ronaldo was pushed on to the ground?He is not Felix Brych,he is Felix Breach.Leave it.The thing that disturbed me was why Portugal giving more space to opponents?Just look how the Italians make themselves in to a defensive shape when an opponent comes in to their penalty box with ball.However,great performance!VIVA PORTUGAL!

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Ronaldo was really good actresses every refry know about that but respect for good fight only CR7 missed too many times superstar rest of team are really good specialy new one youngest player Congratulations Portugal.

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Great to get to the semis of the Euros yet again! This is the 4th time in the last 5 tournaments (since 2000) that we have reached the last four, an awesome record which proves clearly that we are one of the top national teams in Europe (despite...

Great to get to the semis of the Euros yet again! This is the 4th time in the last 5 tournaments (since 2000) that we have reached the last four, an awesome record which proves clearly that we are one of the top national teams in Europe (despite everyone always writing us off!). Well it wasn't pretty from us yet again at this tournament, let's be honest about that, and we all know we are capable of playing much better and a lot more attractive than what we have seen so far. However, often being able to win ugly and displaying grit, strong will and fighting spirit is necessary to win tournaments. How many times have we seen the Italians and Germans for example do just that to win trophies? For many years we played jogo bonito, were the most attractive team to watch at tournaments, yet failed in the semis or quarters. What I like about what Fernando Santos has brought, apart from more flexibility and willingness to use many players, is the fact that he has brought a steely determination and fighting spirit to the team, that was lacking under previous managers.

This was totally apparent in this match. We conceded after just one minute but never dropped our heads and kept focused. The penalty shootout was taken at the Polish end of the stadium (normally a serious disadvantage) against a team who had won a shootout just the other day, and the confident dispatches of each of the 5 players was really impressive. Perhaps Santos has realized that pretty football doesn't always win matches, and to win a tournament we need to be able to scrap and fight and be stronger willed than we were in the past.

Positive aspects of the match for me: Renato Sanches' contribution, above all. An excellent display from the youngster which is being praised on various sites I have been checking. He provides an energy and drive to the the midfield, that simply nobody else can. To think some posters on this site were saying he wasn't ready to even be brought to the tournament at all! On last night's evidence, he should have already been starting during the group stage and simply has to start for the rest of the tournament. Pepe was a beast at the back again, and apart from the first minute of the match, Lewandowski never had a sniff. Cedric made an error in the first minute but was excellent for the next 119 minutes, surely he has nailed his starting place. And the midfield really improved once Moutinho came on. We are able to keep possession of the ball so much more when Moutinho plays, and to me he has to start the semi final.

Negative aspects: I wasn't at all impressed with Joao Mario yeat again. I don't understand why he keeps starting every match, when he doesn't contribute much at all, one assist against Hungary and that has been it. Often loses possession cheaply and doesn't really offer much offensively. Very over-rated player in my opinion, one thing is excelling against medium level Liga teams but I have yet to see him really excel against any strong opposition from outside our own Liga. For the semi final either Quaresma or Andre Gomes must come in for him in my opinion. I was also disappointed with Ronaldo again, as usual he missed some opportunities he would have buried for Madrid and was quite selfish on a few occasions, opting not to pass when a team mate was in a better position. In general, we failed to produce enough goal scoring opportunities last night, we don't play with a real center forward so perhaps this is not too surprising. For the semi final, we have to find a solution to this and somehow create more scoring chances, especially through the middle. Perhaps Rafa Silva deserves a chance to show what he could add to the attack.

All in all though, great to get to the last four and we have a great chance to make the final. We have almost a week now to rest and prepare and work on the improvements that need to be made. FORCA SEMPRE!!!!

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