Draw specialists Portugal beat Poland on penalties

Poland 1-1 Portugal (aet; Portugal win 5-3 on penalties)
Robert Lewandowski's early goal was cancelled out by 18-year-old Renato Sanches, Rui Patricio saving from Jakub Błaszczykowski in the shoot-out.

EURO 2016 highlights: Portugal 1-1 Poland (5-3 pens)
  • Rui Patricio saves from Jakub Błaszczykowski to send Portugal through
  • Robert Lewandowksi puts Poland in front with fastest goal of the tournament so far (2)
  • Renato Sanches becomes third youngest EURO scorer to equalise (33)
  • Portugal still yet to win in 90 minutes; Poland eliminated having never been behind
  • Fernando Santos' face Wales or Belgium in the semi-finals in Lyon on 6 July


Portugal may still not have won a UEFA EURO 2016 game in 90 minutes, but they held their nerve in the penalty shoot-out to deny Poland and reach the semi-finals.

A night of pain for the Polish fans had looked so much brighter just a minute and 40 seconds into the game, when a high ball caught out Portugal right-back Cédric to allow Kamil Grosicki in behind. The Rennes wide-man rolled across for Lewandowski, who finished instinctively for his first goal of the finals.

Poland understandably redoubled their defensive efforts, and with Cristiano Ronaldo shackled, it was down to one from a new generation of Portuguese talent to level proceedings. Renato Sanches, identified as a key player ahead of the match, showed neat footwork to gain space before rifling left-footed past Łukasz Fabiański via a slight deflection.

Renato Sanches joy at Portugal win
Renato Sanches joy at Portugal win

Where Lewandowski and strike partner Arkadiusz Milik were lively in the first half, they rarely threatened in the second. Ronaldo, at the other end, was eager but ineffective, twice fluffing his lines in great positions in the box. José Fonte and Pepe both wasted headed opportunities as Portugal sought a winner in normal time but again they were held come full-time, and so an additional 30 minutes ensued.

Portugal had beaten Croatia in extra time in the last 16, and Ronaldo again failed to connect from close range in the opening exchanges. Subsequently it was Poland who threatened more, but there would be no further scoring.

Poland won their last-16 tie against Switzerland in a shoot-out but, after seven perfect penalties, Rui Patricio dived to his left to brilliantly keep out Poland's fourth kick from Jakub Błaszczykowski. That left Ricardo Quaresma to smash in and seal Portugal's progress.

Man of the match: Renato Sanches
Having made him his first signing as incoming coach of Bayern München, Carlo Ancelotti hailed Renato Sanches as the best player at UEFA EURO 2016 so far. The former Benfica midfielder made his biggest impact at the tournament yet by becoming the third-youngest EURO scorer ever at 18 years and 317 days, on his first start for his country.

Robert Lewandowski (Poland) Robert Lewandowski celebrates opening the scoring©AFP/Getty ImagesLewandowski comes to life
Having failed to score in Poland's first four matches, questions were raised over the striker's form and energy levels after a long, hard season with Bayern and a toe injury sustained against Switzerland. Adam Nawałka rebuffed those suggestions pre-match, saying Lewandowski had been doing a "great job" for the team. The coach's faith was repaid as Lewandowski put Poland in front and looked lively alongside Milik, particularly in the first half.

Rueful Ronaldo
Ronaldo is used to close attention from opposing defenders but grew frustrated at the lack of opportunities from Poland's rearguard. They were quick to shut down shots from open play and block free-kicks, and when Ronaldo was presented with two glorious opportunities in the second half, he uncharacteristically kicked at thin air. The Real Madrid star showed no such uncertainty in the shoot-out, though, scoring first to set Portugal on their way.

Poland players react Poland players dejected after the final whistle©Getty ImagesUEFA.com team reporters
Piotr Koźmiński, Poland (@UEFAcomPiotrK)
Poland may be out but this has still been a very positive campaign. They've made history here in France, claiming their first ever finals win and making the quarter-final. Some players like Lewandowski, Grzegorz Krychowiak and Błaszczykowski showed they are leaders, while others such as Michał Pazdan surprised in a positive way.

Joe Walker, Portugal (@UEFAcomJoeW)
Portugal will feel the game should not have gone as far as penalties given the amount of chances they created in normal time. Ronaldo was profligate, but in the end it didn't matter. He showed character to take the first penalty. Portugal are into the semi-finals without a win in 90 minutes.

Ronaldo: Portugal were worthy winners
Ronaldo: Portugal were worthy winners