Portugal suffered an early blow within the first two minutes as Robert Lewandowski opened his goalscoring account at Euro 2016 to put Poland ahead. Southampton man Cédric Soares allowed the ball to bounce past him and Kamil Grosicki was able to cross it in from the left into the centre of the box for Lewandowski to smash it past the goalkeeper. In fact, the Bayern Munich forward’s goal was the second quickest in European Championship history after just 1 minute and 40 seconds – the fastest came from Russia’s Dmitri Kirichenko in Euro 2004 against Greece.
Portugal struggled to get into this game with Poland dominating much of the possession. Their first chance came after eleven minutes in the first-half as 18-year-old midfielder Renato Sanches played in Cristiano Ronaldo, whose attempt was blocked and Nani’s rebound was comfortably saved by Lukasz Fabianski.
The Polish continued to keep the ball and it took 17 minutes after Portugal’s chance for another real opportunity for either side. Former Manchester United man Nani passed it to Ronaldo who tried his luck from 25 yards out, but the effort flew straight into the arms of the ‘keeper.
Just two minutes later and Portugal should definitely have had a penalty when Polish defender Michal Pazdan pushed into the back of the Real Madrid man and Poland were very lucky to not concede a spot-kick.
Moments later and there was a second goal of the game, from young playmaker Sanches. The midfielder shot with his left foot from the edge of the box and a deflection from Sevilla’s Grzegorz Krychowiak helped it on its way into the back of the net. Sanches is the youngest Portuguese player to start a game at the Euros, beating Ronaldo’s record he set twelve years ago. He is also the youngest to score a goal in the knockout stages of European Championship history.
There was nothing else to report on since the equaliser as both sides went into half-time level, thanks to two superbly worked goals.
Both sides struggled to find any real rhythm after the break with only a two or three half-chances in the first ten minutes of the second-half. The first real goalscoring opportunity came to Portugal’s Ronaldo, who was played in by former teammate Nani but the 31-year-old could only find the side-netting – he could have done a lot better if I’m going to be honest.
In the 63rd minute, Cédric nearly made-up for his part in the Poland goal as the 24-year-old struck a shot from distance towards the far post but it flew just wide of Fabianski’s goal. Glik went into the referee’s book just two minutes after that chance as the Monaco centre-back denied Ronaldo a run on goal.
Poland had their first decent chance of the second-half when a cross from the left side of the box was floated in but Milik was only able to get a flick on and forced an easy save from Rui Patricio.
Ten minutes before the ninety and Poland nearly scored a freak own-goal as Jedrzejczyk attempted to intercept the pass to Ronaldo and if went just inches wide of the post. A very lacklustre 45 minutes of football with very few chances to mention, meant the game in Marseille went to extra-time.
Absolutely nothing to report on as the match headed to a penalty shootout.
The shoot-out proved to be a master-class in taking penalties up until Jakub Blaszczykowski stepped up. He struck his effort towards the corner but Rui Patricio flung himself to his left to push the ball away. The responsibility to seal the game fell to Ricardo Quaresma, who slotted his penalty in to seal Portugal’s place in the Euro 2016 semi-finals.
Poland: Fabianski, Piszczek, Glik, Pazdan, Jedrzejczyk, Blaszczykowski, Krychowiak, Maczynski, Grosicki, Milik, Lewandowski
Portugal: Patricio, Cedric, Fonte, Pepe, Eliseu, W. Carvalho, Mario, Silva, Sanches, Ronaldo, Nani