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The agony and the ecstasy

Published: Friday 25 June 2004, 13.13CET
After the drama of a 2-2 draw, extra time and penalties, the media in Portugal and England searched for superlatives to describe their joy and despair.
 
Published: Friday 25 June 2004, 13.13CET

The agony and the ecstasy

After the drama of a 2-2 draw, extra time and penalties, the media in Portugal and England searched for superlatives to describe their joy and despair.

The Portuguese hosts are still alive and kicking while England were left to lick their wounds after a stunning UEFA EURO 2004™ quarter-final in Lisbon. Unsurprisingly, after the drama of a 2-2 draw, extra time and penalties, both countries' newspapers searched for superlatives to describe their joy ... and despair.

Portugal 2-2 England (Portugal win 6-5 on penalties)

Maybe Portuguese football's most important victory. It may seem like an exaggeration - and readers will remember other achievements - but this is not only a victory which gives us a place in the semi-finals, but a victory for the whole country, after centuries of fatalism. The ability to challenge fortune, to conquer our own destiny and to overcome injustice make this a historic win. That undeserved goal after just three minutes and Lampard's equalising goal after we had come from behind - against an unashamedly defensive team - were annulled in an epic ending with Ricardo saving and scoring. (A Bola)

Winning on penalties was a small problem - and still a little unpalatable - after the show of football given by the national team. At least it served to restore faith in Ricardo when in the sudden death he stopped the penalty from Vassell and scored the subsequently winning spot-kick. Facing opponents who defended for 80 minutes, Scolari risked a do-or-die strategy and the players gave all they had. After this they are ready for anything. (O Jogo)

Make that 40 years of hurt for English football. The instrument of torture was the familiar one as England were knocked out of their fourth leading championship on penalties. England had entered this campaign, and last night's match, truly believing that they could win the country’s first big trophy since 1966, but they will fly home this afternoon for the usual bout of introspection. (The Times)

The curse of penalties struck England again last night, a painfully familiar frailty from 12 yards ending one of the most pulsating, memorable games in the history of tournament football. England will remember it with only bitterness, bracketing Lisbon 04 along with Turin 90, Wembley 96 and St-Etienne 98, datelines to haunt us forever. Portugal's winning kick came from their goalkeeper, Ricardo. England are taking penalty embarrassment to a new low. (Daily Telegraph)

 
Last updated: 25/06/04 13.32CET

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