Portugal were left to bemoan an unlucky deflection as Leo Beenhakker praised his Poland side for earning a 2-2 draw in Lisbon in "emotional circumstances".
Poland maintained their position atop Group A with a defence-minded display, taking the lead through Mariusz Lewandowski before going 2-1 down as Maniche and Cristiano Ronaldo struck for Portugal. However, they were handed a lucky break with two minutes of normal time remaining as Jacek Kryznówek's long-range shot went in after hitting the post and goalkeeper Ricardo's shoulder.
"I can't say we've had perfect match because some of my boys did not handle the pressure well, but of course you must think positively when you get a draw in such emotional circumstances," said Poland's Dutch coach Leo Beenhakker. Defender Marcin Wasilewski added: "The tactics were well-prepared and for most of the time we did well. We were not at our best but we got a great result. Cristiano Ronaldo knew about my yellow card so I was very careful marking him."
A sizeable Polish contingent cheered Beenhakker's side on in Lisbon and will now be dreaming of following the national team to next summer's UEFA EURO 2008™ finals in Austria and Switzerland. Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, meanwhile, was left to reflect on his side's bad luck as the result left his side in third place in the section, four points behind Poland and two adrift of Finland.
"That is the way soccer is - there is no explanation," said the Brazilian as he pondered the Poland equaliser and a Cristiano Ronaldo effort that hit the bar in the first half. Of the fateful goal, he added: "We had seven or eight players behind the ball but it hit Ricardo's back. Poland are a quality team and played with nine players behind the ball making it difficult to create opportunities. My players only did what was possible."
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