The European Championship is coming to a close and we already know three of the four semi-finalists: Portugal, Wales and Germany. It has been a long and drab tournament with the likes of Wales and Iceland making it somewhat bearable to watch, as they have been punching above their weight all tournament long, while others continually turn in subpar performances. One of such teams is Portugal.
Three games, no wins
The Portuguese started the championship incredibly disappointing with a draw against lowly Iceland. In attack they looked at a loss for ideas and when the time came to stand tall in defence they fluffed it, allowing Bjarnason to convert the equaliser at the back-post. Following the game, Ronaldo in bad taste, accused the Icelandic team of playing too defensively but what he should have mentioned was how poorly his team had in fact played- failing to really test the goalkeeper.
They followed up the draw against Iceland with another draw against Austria, this time unable to score a goal- Ronaldo missed a penalty and several guilt-edged opportunities- further proof of how astonishingly disappointing the Portuguese have been.
Amazingly, they managed another draw in their final group game against Hungary, albeit far from a boring game. It was end-to-end attacking football for neutral fans but caused heart palpitations for fans of both teams; the game finished 3-3. The match, as entertaining as it was, sadly highlighted the holes in both teams’ defences.
The Portuguese ended the group stages with no wins and three points but somehow qualified for the round of 16.
Knockout stages and nothing has changed
Portuguese fans and neutral fans alike may have thought the worst was over but alas, it was merely wishful thinking and we were forced to endure 90 minutes of tortuous football from both teams, which then dragged on to extra time. We were luckily rescued in the 117th minute following a failed attack by the Croatians, which led to a quick counter-attack allowing Quaresma to head home the winning goal and thus put us out of our misery.
The Polish were up next in the quarter-final and after a quick start from the Poles and an eventual equaliser from Sanches, the game then boringly persisted, leaving us all in a stupor throughout the remaining 90 minutes and extra time. The game to be decided on penalties. It was going well for Poland until Blaszczykowski missed his penalty, giving Quaresma the chance to be the hero for Portugal.
The Portuguese are currently the only team in the final four that has failed to win in regular time and has left it mostly to luck but it is this luck, which could see them make the final and become eventual champions.