It’s not as glamorous as taking a casual stroll down the Champs Elysses but Portugal is in the Euro 2016 Semifinals after going perfect in a penalty shootout against Poland.
This game was rather strange. The first half of the first half was non stop entertainment. The action started less than two minutes in as Robert Lewandowski put away Kamil Grosicki’s cross to go up 1-0
Then Renato Sanches, the 18-year-old who was just recently signed by Bayern Munich, equalized on a great shot in the 33rd minute from outside the box.
Things started to trail off in the first half but it was still relatively entertaining. In the second half, both teams played not to lose and it showed in many missed chances and slow play. Cristiano Ronaldo looked especially terrible, botching multiple attempts at the goal and leading things to penalties.
In penalties, both teams were doing a great job faking out the two goalkeepers. After Nani took Portugal’s fourth penalty to go up 4-3, Jakub Blaszczykowski stepped up to try and equalize for Poland. He stepped up, stuttered and kicked right where Rui Patricio dove as Patricio denied Blaszczykowski of Poland’s tying goal. Ricardo Quaresma then converted the winner, though an argument could be made that he stopped in the approach and thus the penalty shouldn’t have counted but it did and Portugal is off to face either Wales or Belgium in the Semifinals.
For Poland, this is bittersweet. As Opta points out, Poland didn’t trail for a single minute in their five Euro 2016 games. To be eliminated in that fashion and never trail at any point, has to be disheartening.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 30, 2016
But no matter how many minutes Poland trailed, Portugal clawed to stay even and did just enough to stay their heads above water to eventually get saved. All that matters is being on top at the end and whether that’s in regular time, extra time or penalties, Portugal gets to go to the Semifinal and regardless it has been ugly or beautiful, Portugal is there.