Portugal booked their place in the semi-finals of EURO 2016 after a dramatic penalty shootout victory over Poland in Marseille.
Goals from Robert Lewandowski and Renato Sanches meant that the scores were level after 120 minutes, but Portugal held their nerve to win 5-3 on spot-kicks.
Following their dramatic late win over Croatia, Portugal boss Fernando Santos decided to give Bayern Munich newboy Renato Sanches his first start of EURO 2016, in the place of Andre Gomes, while Eliseu replaced injured left-back Raphael Guerreiro.
Poland, who defeated Switzerland on penalties in the Round-of-16, went into the match unchanged.
Poland took an early lead as Lewandowski found the back of the net for the first time in this tournament after just 100 seconds.
Kamil Grosicki put a low cross into the Portuguese penalty area after Southampton right-back Cedric Soares misjudged the flight of the ball. The Bayern Munich striker was first to the cross and his emphatic low finish into the bottom corner gave goalkeeper Rui Patricio no chance.
On the half-hour mark, Portugal were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty as Michal Pazdan clearly pushed Cristiano Ronaldo when challenging for a cross into the penalty area. But German referee Felix Brych waved away Portugal’s claims.
However Portugal were back on level terms after 33 minutes, as Sanches scored his first goal in international football.
The central midfielder’s left footed strike from 20 yards took a slight deflection off Grzegorz Krychowiak and beat Swansea City goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski at his near post.
After 69 minutes, Arkadiusz Milik came close to restoring Poland’s lead as he beat Pepe to a Artur Jedrzejczyk cross, but Rui Patricio saved his close-range effort well.
With less than ten minutes of normal time remaining, Portugal nearly booked their place in the semi-finals as Jedrzejczyk came close to inadvertently putting the ball into the back of his own net, before Ronaldo failed to make contact with a Joao Moutinho lob over the top of Poland’s defence when through on goal.
The teams could not be separated after 90 minutes and extra-time, menaing Poland would have to contest their second penalty shootout of the tournament already.
But it was Portugal who were victorious as Ronaldo, Sanches, Moutinho, Nani and Ricardo Quaresma all converted their penalties.
Lewandowski, Milik and Glik all beat goalkeeper Rui Patricio, but the Sporting shot stopper brilliantly saved Jakub Blaszczykowski’s penalty to gift Quaresma the opportunity to fire Portugal into the last-four.
Man of the Match: Renato Sanches (Portugal)
Just a month before the tournament kicked off, Sanches penned a five-year contract with Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.
The Bavarian side had to fight off stiff competition to make the signing, for a fee rising to £67m, and from this performance, the 18-year-old is certainly one for the future.
This was Sanches’ first start at EURO 2016, and he shone. The ex-Benfica man was deployed in a three-man midfield alongside Sporting duo William Carvalho and Adrien Silva in front of the Portuguese back four.
But Sanches was equally effective going forward and scored his first goal in international football with a long-range strike. The teeanger also scored a fantastic penalty in the shootout.
Fernando Santos’ Portugal will travel to Lyon to face the winners of tomorrow night’s quarter-final clash between Wales and Belgium on July 6.