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Portugal can finally move on

Published: Friday 22 June 2012, 11.00CET
Supporters and journalists alike were full of nerves prior to Thursday's quarter-final but, writes Andy Brassell, victory against the Czech Republic was a cathartic experience for Portugal.
by Andy Brassell
from Warsaw
 
 
Published: Friday 22 June 2012, 11.00CET

Portugal can finally move on

Supporters and journalists alike were full of nerves prior to Thursday's quarter-final but, writes Andy Brassell, victory against the Czech Republic was a cathartic experience for Portugal.

"Evening, mate. Confident?" Prior to kick-off last night at the National Stadium Warsaw, the greeting was the same from every Portuguese journalist this correspondent bumped into. Replying in the affirmative was met with a series of furrowed brows.

©Sportsfile

Portugal fans celebrate victory against the Czechs

The impressive win against the Netherlands in Kharkiv seemed to have made the media less, rather than more, optimistic, even if Thursday morning's newspapers had puffed their chests and proclaimed: "We're going to the semi-finals" (A Bola).

Though Portugal were victorious against the Czechs at UEFA EURO 2008, minds were more occupied by EURO '96, and Karel Poborskŷ's legendary chipped winner in the quarter-final against Portugal in Birmingham.

Poborskŷ's successful two-and-a-half year spell at SL Benfica subsequently kept him in the forefront of Portuguese minds, and the now-retired midfielder has spent much of this week reliving the moment to Portugal's media.

"I was 14, it absolutely killed me," Australian journalist Vítor Sobral, from a Portuguese family, told me. Maybe now the footballing nation's scars will begin to heal, but it was touch and go for a while. As a series of chances came and went for Paulo Bento's side in Warsaw, it seemed a grisly repeat could be on the cards.

As Cristiano Ronaldo hit the post twice, and Hugo Almeida headed over, it felt as if Domingos' shot was being saved and Jorge Cadete was heading wide all over again. This time, though, there was Captain Ronaldo to come to the rescue. Wednesday's semi-final in Donetsk, therefore, will represent moving on in more ways than one.

Last updated: 22/06/12 11.13CET

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