Ecstatic Portugal fans partied from the Azores to China on Wednesday to celebrate the 2-1 win against the Netherlands which put their team into the UEFA EURO 2004™ final.
Screaming supporters draped in the national colours of green and red poured into Lisbon's Avenida da Liberdade. Daredevils clambered high up the base of the capital's signature statue of statesman Marquês de Pombal to wave flags, shouting, "Portugal! Portugal!"
Caravans of honking cars jammed with fans shut down traffic in the whitewashed centres of towns in the rolling Alentejo, Portugal's main agricultural region. Flags were waved from balconies over cobblestoned streets filled with cheering supporters on the Atlantic islands of Madeira and the remote Azores, radio stations reported.
Portuguese prime minister José Manuel Durão Barroso, named this week as the new head of the European Commission, was quoted as saying: "The final? As I've said before, the sky's the limit!" On the other side of the world, thousands of fans thronged streets in Díli, the capital of the former Portuguese colony of East Timor, just before dawn on Thursday.
Meanwhile, hundreds of sleepless Portuguese defied high winds and rain kicked up by Typhoon Mindulle to crowd bars in Macau, a one-time Portuguese enclave on China's coast, to watch the win on television and party.
Portugal will play their first major tournament final on Sunday against the winner of Thursday's semi-final between surprise package Greece and the highly-fancied Czech Republic. And, once again, a nation will be ready to erupt in celebration.
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