Paris: Portugal reached the semi-finals of the European Championship for the fourth time in five tournaments with a penalty shootout victory over Poland. Ricardo Quaresma scored the winning spot-kick after Jakub Blaszczykowski’s effort was saved by Rui Patricio.
Robert Lewandowski had put Poland ahead in the second minute with teenager Renato Sanches scoring the equaliser. Portugal’s semi-final opponent will be either Wales or Belgium, who face each other in Lille on Friday.
Remarkably, Portugal have reached the last four without winning a game in normal time following three draws in the group stage and an extra-time win over Croatia in the last 16.
No side has ever got this far in a European Championship without winning a match inside 90 minutes. Portugal have also only led a match for 19 minutes during the whole tournament.
However, for a second dour and conservative knockout game running they did what was required when it mattered. Neither goalkeeper came close to saving the first three penalties from either side.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Sanches and Joao Moutinho all scored excellent penalties for Portugal, with Lewandowski, Arkadiusz Milik and Kamil Glik following suit for Poland.
However, after Nani had put Portugal 4-3 ahead, Patricio dived full length to his left to palm away Blaszczykowski’s effort with one hand. Lukasz Fabianski got his fingertips to Quaresma’s decisive effort but could not prevent it finding the roof of the net.
3-5 On Pens