Portugal hold their nerve against England to reach EURO 2004 semi-finals

Portugal 2-2 England (Portugal win 6-5 on penalties)
Goalkeeper Ricardo starred as the hosts kept their nerve to go through to the semi-finals.

Ricardo scores the winning penalty for Portugal
Ricardo scores the winning penalty for Portugal ©Getty Images

Portugal overcame England on penalties to advance to the UEFA EURO 2004 semi-finals after an enthralling tie at the Estádio da Luz, with misses from David Beckham and Darius Vassell proving decisive in the shoot-out. Portuguese goalkeeper Ricardo nervelessly converted the winning spot kick.

Michael Owen's improvised finish put England ahead just three minutes in, but from then on they endured relentless pressure, Portugal finally levelling with the end in sight when Hélder Postiga headed in Simão's cross. Then it was the turn of a third Portugal substitute, Rui Costa, who beat David James with a sumptuous strike and while Frank Lampard sent the match to penalties, it merely prolonged the agony for England.

EURO 2004: All you need to know

More shoot-out woe for the Three Lions, more disappointment; how different the mood had been almost three hours earlier when England got off to a perfect start with a wonderful piece of invention. Jorge Andrade failed to cut out Costinha's misjudged back header and Owen pounced on to the loose ball to pivot and flick beyond Ricardo.

The hosts could have swiftly been level, and it took committed blocks from Ashley Cole and a combination of Cole and Sol Campbell to deny teenage sensation Cristiano Ronaldo. That sparked a wave of Portugal attacks, with Maniche's fierce strike tipped over by David James and Miguel firing over as England surrendered possession cheaply.

EURO 2004 highlights: Spotlight on Luís Figo
EURO 2004 highlights: Spotlight on Luís Figo

The tournament top scorers looked dangerous when they did get the chance to advance, Owen and Campbell going close, but the loss of Wayne Rooney on 27 minutes with a broken foot blunted their attacking teeth. On came Vassell.

Portugal picked up where they had left off upon the restart, and in an effort to relieve the pressure Sven-Göran Eriksson introduced Phil Neville for Paul Scholes. Still Portugal came, as Deco's left-wing cross was headed back across goal by Costinha and Ronaldo outjumped Campbell to head over.

England, often with as many as eight players behind the ball, were defending valiantly. Luiz Felipe Scolari threw more and more caution to the wind. Winger Simão came on for Costinha, Postiga replaced Figo and, with 13 minutes remaining, full-back Miguel made way for Rui Costa. Time was running out.

EURO 2004 highlights: Spotlight on Wayne Rooney
EURO 2004 highlights: Spotlight on Wayne Rooney

With seven minutes left Simão seized on Lampard's wayward pass and crossed superbly for Postiga, who headed in unmarked. England almost claimed a sensational late winner but Campbell's header was ruled out after a foul on Ricardo by John Terry and a pulsating period of extra time beckoned.

The prevailing pattern continued as Portugal pressed but England stood firm before Rui Costa's tracer bullet found a way through. Lampard levelled on 115 minutes to force penalties, where David Beckham and Rui Costa blazed wild efforts over. Ricardo stood tall for Portugal, however, denying Vassell and then stepping up himself to convert the winner.

Reaction

Frank Lampard makes it 2-2
Frank Lampard makes it 2-2Icon Sport via Getty Images

Luiz Felipe Scolari, Portugal coach: "I have suffered a lot and certainly will need to have my heart checked. The emotions were too strong in this game and I want to give my sincere thanks to all the Portuguese for the way they have been supporting the players and the national team. I also want to thank my players, who were unbeatable throughout the match. We deserved the victory entirely because I believe my squad were always the better team on the pitch."

Sven-Göran Eriksson, England manager: "It was a dramatic game - first 1-0, then they equalised, then 2-1 and we came back in extra time, which was amazing. Unfortunately, we lost the penalties, and this is very hard. The team's spirit has been fantastic throughout the tournament and I have no complaints whatsoever about the boys. Losing this way, however, is very hard."

Michael Owen, England forward: "This was a big disappointment for us, but it always seems to happen with penalty shoot-outs. These tournaments come round every two years and we can't expect to win all the time. But going out on penalties when we scored four of the first five is a bitter blow. But they put theirs away and that's that."

EURO 2004: Team of the Tournament

Lineups

TEAM of Portugal line up during the European Championship quarter-finals match between Portugal and England at Estadio da Luz, Lisbonne, in Portugal on June 24th, 2004. ( Photo by Eric Renard / Onze / Icon Sport )
TEAM of Portugal line up during the European Championship quarter-finals match between Portugal and England at Estadio da Luz, Lisbonne, in Portugal on June 24th, 2004. ( Photo by Eric Renard / Onze / Icon Sport )Icon Sport via Getty Images

Portugal: Ricardo; Miguel (Rui Costa 79), Jorge Andrade, Ricardo Carvalho, Nuno Valente; Costinha (Simão Sabrosa 63), Deco, Maniche; Luis Figo (Hélder Postiga 75), Cristiano Ronaldo, Nuno Gomes
Substitutes: Quim, Moreira, Beto, Paulo Ferreira, Rui Jorge, Fernando Couto, Petit, Tiago
Coach: Luiz Felipe Scolari

England: James; Ashley Cole, Campbell, Terry, Gary Neville; Scholes (Phil Neville 57), Gerrard (Hargreaves 81), Lampard, Beckham (c); Rooney (Vassell 27), Owen
Substitutes: Robinson, Walker, Bridge, Carragher, Butt, Joe Cole, Dyer, Heskey
Coach: Sven-Göran Eriksson

Referee: Urs Meier (Switzerland)

Man of the Match: Ricardo Carvalho (Portugal)

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