Portugal beat Poland in shootout to reach semis
By Mitch Phillips
MARSEILLE, France (Reuters) - Portugal substitute Ricardo Quaresma, keeper Rui Patricio and 18-year-old midfield sensation Renato Sanches were the heroes as Portugal beat Poland 5-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw to reach the Euro 2016 semi-finals on Thursday.
Patricio dived full length to block Jakub Blaszczykowski's penalty, Poland's fourth, allowing substitute Quaresma, whose goal late in extra-time beat Croatia in the round of 16, to bang in Portugal's fifth in the shootout.
Two hours earlier Robert Lewandowski put Poland ahead with a second minute strike only for teenager Sanches to equalize with a superb shot 33 minutes into his first international start.
Precious little happened from then on but Portugal, beaten on penalties by Spain in the semi-finals four years ago, will not care as they advance to the last four at the Euros for the fourth time in five tournaments to face Belgium or Wales.
"(The goal) was an amazing moment. I'm happy to be man of the match again, but the individual comes after the team," said Sanches, who also scored the second shootout penalty.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who four years ago did not get to take his planned spot kick when he was fifth in line as Portugal lost to eventual winners Spain, went first this time.
Joao Moutinho and Nani also scored confidently from the spot before Patricio swung things Portugal's way with his fine save and Quaresma applied the coup de grace.
Poland had converted all five of their penalties in knocking out Switzerland in the last round, also after a 1-1 draw, but could not repeat the feat. Continued...