Following a 1-1 score-line after extra-time, Portugal won the penalty shootout 5-3 against Poland in the quarter-finals of Euros 2016, on Thursday.
Robert Lewandowski scored the opening goal in the second minute of the encounter to break his tournament duck and give Poland the lead. However, Renato Sanches drew Portugal level in the first half itself.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored the first penalty in the shootouts while Jakub Błaszczykowski saw his effort saved by Rui Patricio.
Ricardo Quaresma stepped up to score the penalty that sent Portugal through to the semi-finals.
Sport360 rounds-up the best of the reaction from both sides.
“It is a wonderful moment for the team, for me for scoring, we have been working very hard and we have been doing our best. People criticise us but we don’t care, because we are in the semis.”
“We conceded very early but we believed until the end, we tried our best. The move for the goal turned out that way, but the team has been playing well, we are very confident so we will keep on trying to play our best.”
“For the penalties, the coach asked who wanted to shoot. Cristiano was first and I said I would be second. The coach had faith in me, and I was confident enough to ask to shoot.”
“As we move further along, we get closer to our goal. We have the drive and ambition and we want to bring great joy to the Portuguese people. Penalties are a lottery but you have to show a lot of character. I knew that Poland were great at spot-kicks because they won on penalties in the last round but I told my players to stay calm because I knew they would score. ”
“Poland started really well but I had a strategy with William Carvalho, Renato Sanches and Adrien Silva closing their players down. We let them take over the game for a bit and we weren’t able to control Milik, so I spoke to Renato Sanches to change things and asked Nani to drop a bit deeper.”
“Thankfully we got the goal through Renato – but Poland are a very good team who know how to lull their opponents into a state of rest. But we did well, we played on the front foot and had the better chances, even if Poland had a few as well. I think we won fair and square against a very good team”
“It was enormous pressure. I had an entire country in my hands. I stayed positive I knew it was going to be a goal. I didn’t have time to think. Before going to the ball I was very confident. We’re on the right track and we’re going to continue.”
“It’s definitely a tough moment for us. The players put a lot of heart into this match and played bravely throughout this tournament. We haven’t lost a match at the tournament – we were knocked out on penalties. We have to look with optimism to the future and the European Qualifiers. There will be soon be time for detailed analysis but this defeat hurts.”
“We’ve moved forward – this tournament has proven that. We were very good in both the group and knockout stages. We played some very good football. We’re always trying to improve and that will be the case going into the future.”
“The team works as one. The team spirit was our driving force here. We need to think about what we’ve achieved here and continue to move forward. There’s no need to grieve for too long – it’s just a disappointment. I’m sure in time we’ll look at this with more optimism.”
Wales meet Belgium in a Euro 2016 quarter-final in Lille on Friday night.
Here, we look at some talking points ahead of one of the biggest nights in Welsh football history:
BALE v HAZARD
The match within the match is the battle between Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard. Two of the greatest talents in world football, two free-kick experts and two undisputed match-winners. The last time they shared the same international pitch a year ago Bale came up with the winner in Wales’ 1-0 victory. Wales managed to shut Hazard out by crowding him whenever he had possession that night, but the Chelsea forward is in fine form and Belgium will be praying he has fully recovered from a leg injury to play. With three goals in this tournament, Bale has already made his mark at Euro 2016 – and their private battle might go a long way to deciding which nation makes the last four.
Wales captain Ashley Williams was in great pain at the end of their last-16 victory over Northern Ireland in Paris last Saturday. The centre-back suffered an awkward fall after colliding with team-mate Jonathan Williams, damaging his shoulder but somehow getting through the closing moments. Wales are confident that Williams will be fit to take his place against Belgium, but he looked in discomfort at a public training session on Tuesday. James Collins would be a worthy replacement, but Williams has been the rock at the heart of a well-organised Wales defence for some years now. His absence would be a huge blow for Wales.
DEVILS AND THEIR DEMONS
Belgium’s Red Devils have risen to the top of the world rankings in the past and currently sit at number two on the FIFA list. So you would think this stellar squad has little to get uptight about. Except that they have failed to beat Wales in three games over the last two-and-a-half years. Paired together in the last two qualifying campaigns, Wales fought out 1-1 and 0-0 draws in Brussels before that memorable win in Cardiff a year ago. Look at the two teams on paper and there would only appear one winner, but Belgium must hurdle a psychological obstacle to exorcise their Welsh demons and prove Chris Coleman’s side are not their bogey team.
Ever since Aaron Ramsey turned to the peroxide bottle on the eve of the Euros, the Arsenal midfielder has been determined to show that blonds have more fun. While Bale has dominated headlines and column inches with his spectacular goals and regular appearances before the media, Ramsey has run the show from midfield. So much so that it could be argued that he has had a better tournament than Bale thus far – with two assists, one goal and more tackles won in the final third than any other player at Euro 2016. Ramsey can run all day and if Belgium allow him to find space in front of their back four then they could be dicing with danger.
The condition of the Stade Pierre Mauroy surface at Lille remains a concern, despite a new pitch being relaid by UEFA. The surface was in a poor state after hosting four matches at the group stage, with officials blaming torrential rain for its condition. UEFA responded by importing a new pitch from Holland for Germany’s last-16 win over Slovakia. But the pitch was patchy in places and neither Wales or Belgium will train on it on Thursday. With more rain forecast ahead of Friday’s game, UEFA will be hoping that the pitch does not cut up and provide embarrassing pictures before a television audience of millions.
Still only 18, Renato Sanches enjoyed the finest night of his fledgling career as he started for Portugal for the first time in Euro 2016 in their quarter-final win over Poland.
The teenage sensation who completed a big money move to Bayern Munich this summer, scored with a stunning strike from outside the box to draw his side level albeit with the help of a slight deflection.
He brought plenty of energy and drive to the midfield throughout the 120 minutes of action and also dispatched his penalty emphatically as Portugal won the shootout 5-3 following a 1-1 score at the end of extra-time.