Cheat sheet: Portugal fail to hit the heights *again* but it doesn't matter as they go through on penalties


Portugal became the first country through to the Euro 2016 semi-finals after they beat Poland on penalties in Marseille.

No neutral fan could possibly remember the match with any fondness even if it initially looked set to deliver some much-needed entertainment - Robert Lewandowski scored in the second minute - but fizzled into a kick-and-chase affair after Portugal's teen whiz-kid Renato Sanchez equalised in some style.

A Portugal fan is apprehended by security as he runs onto the pitch.
(Nick Potts/EMPICS Sport)

Extra-time was notable only for a fan running onto the pitch and when penalties *finally* arrived former Poland captain Jakub Blaszczykowski was the unlucky man who saw his penalty saved.

Key moments

Lewandowski opens the scoring (two minutes). There were question marks over the form of Poland's star striker coming into the game after he had failed to score in the tournament. He took less than two minutes to prove form is temporary.

Sanches' stunning equaliser (33 minutes). A couple of minutes after Cristiano Ronaldo had a good claim for a penalty waved away, Portugal equalised as Sanches crashed in a stunning goal to mark his first start of the tournament.

Ronaldo has a fresh-air shot (86 minutes). With time ticking down Ronaldo beat the offside trap and ran onto a perfectly lobbed pass that left him with only the keeper to beat...he tried to strike the ball first time, but missed everything.

Jakub Blaszczykowski misses in the penalty shoot-out. The midfielder was Poland's fourth penalty taker and became the first player who failed to convert when Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio saved.

Poland's Jakub Blaszczykowski reacts after failing to score during a penalty shootout
(Thanassis Stavrakis/AP/PA)

Was it the right result?

Portugal probably were the better team, but the game was so short on entertainment that you could hardly say Ronaldo and his team-mates deserved to go through. Portugal won't care a jot and the fact they've drawn four of their five games - they won the other in the 117th-minute of extra-time - will not bother them either.

Who played well?

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, left, congratulates Renato Sanches
(Martin Meissner/AP/PA)

Sanches. The 18-year-old's first start for Portugal was memorable for his goal, which levelled the match and his penalty in the shoot-out picked out the top corner. Manchester United were apparently chasing his services this summer and, if that is true, they will be ruing the fact Bayern Munich beat them to the punch on the basis of this display.

Who played badly?

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo
(Thanassis Stavrakis/AP/PA)

Ronaldo. In a crowded field Ronaldo gets the nod simply because he's supposed to be the best player at this tournament. He had a fresh-air shot in the final moments of normal time and for the majority it looked as though he was simply too eager to be the guy that Portugal rely on. They could probably do with not being too Ronaldo conscious and let him wait for his chance.

Tactics check

Portugal coach Fernando
(Frank Augstein/AP/PA)

The managers of both sides must have agreed a moratorium on tactics before the match because for the most part it was 22 blokes (plus subs) running around kicking a ball. Portugal crossed the ball, a lot, which and when you've got Ronaldo as a lone front man there are probably better ways of feeding the ball into him.

Key stat

The 18-year-old looks like he is going to be a key player for Portugal for many years to come.

Picture of the night

Portugal's Renato Sanches, left, celebrates with his team-mates
(Martin Meissner/AP/PA)

What next?

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo
(Thanassis Stavrakis/AP/PA)

Portugal have the best player at the tournament, in Ronaldo, yet he has hardly been at his best and the team have been hardly better.
Despite all that they're in the semi-finals where they will meet either Wales or Belgium. Poland will go home content with their tournament but feeling as though they could have gone further with a side that didn't get the best out of their own talisman Lewandowski.