Portugal are in the semifinals and Ricardo Quaresma is again their last-gasp hero, though this time, it came in a penalty shootout that separated two desperately drained teams. Poland’s furthest run at the Euros is over. They could not duplicate their flawless performance in Saturday’s last-16 shootout with Switzerland.
It was down with their lesser teammates to take their moves once Robert Lewandowski and Cristiano Ronaldo, star guys and captains of the respective teams, had taken the first spot kicks. Jakub Blaszczykowski, definitely critical at Euro 2016 and so often the hero for Poland, upward stepped Quaresma to fire through Portugal and had his kick saved by Rui Patricio.
Chris Coleman’s heroes secured their place in the hearts of a state and Welsh history books with a thrilling display on an unforgettable night in Lille.
Wales, appearing since the 1958 World Cup at their first major finals, had never made the last four of any tournament.
I adore every last charming thing about them, these strangers, this family. They are not credible. I adore that our everyman superhero, Gareth Bale, pounded against the dragon on his chest and looked at the skies.
I love that the anthem was sung by the Welsh fans again, the stadium empty except for them, and I wish you all could have heard the sound of the singing, rising into the night.
But they booked a semi final with a display filled with course and character.
Real Madrid teammates Ronaldo and Bale go head to head for the right to lead their nations and for each of them -Euro double.
While the two starred together in the Spanish capital and have coexisted, the 26-year old Bale is often looked upon as the ultimate replacement as the star attraction of Ronaldo at the Bernabeu he moves on.
He is given the chance here to not only show that he can be Ronaldo’s identical, but he can do him one better and lift his country to the cusp of a decoration that Ronaldo has never lifted.
He is already outshone Ronaldo in the competition on an individual level as it pertains to influence the course of all five matches over.
Prediction: Wales goes to the final!!!