Portugal outlasts Poland in penalty kicks to reach EURO semis

Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Poland’s second-straight trip to penalty kicks at EURO 2016 didn’t go as well as the first, as Rui Patricio decisively stopped Jakub Błaszczykowski’s penalty kick to lift Portugal into the semifinals.

Robert Lewandowski and Renato Sanches traded goals in the first half, but the final 87 minutes found nothing to divide the two.

Ricardo Quaresma scored the final penalty to make it a 5-3 win in kicks.

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Portugal moves on to a semifinal date with either Wales or Belgium, one match away from a second final in four tournaments.

Lewandowski broke his duck in the best way possible, using the inside of his right foot to turn his shot inside the near post within two minutes of the opening whistle. Kamil Grosicki provided the cross after Southampton man Cedric Soares completely mistimed a headed intervention.

The run-up to this game would have you believe that this match would literally be Cristiano Ronaldo against Lewandowski in a 1v1 match. At times, that wasn’t farfetched. Ronaldo flashed over goal early, and Lukasz Fabianski denied the Portuguese hit man in the 29th minute.

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And the Real Madrid star may’ve deserved a penalty in the 31st minute, as he was blatantly knocked down in the box while seeking a cross.

It was Portugal’s next big star who netted, though, as new Bayern man Sanches darted in from the right to fire a deflected shot past Fabianski. He becomes the third youngest goal scorer in EURO history.

The second half featured more nervy work from both sides, as Poland’s tight defense was challenged but rarely beaten by the fast feet of Portugal.