Despite enduring a frustrating night in Marseille, Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo still ended up celebrating – after his Portugal side advanced past Poland and into the semi-finals of Euro 2016.
Robert Lewandowski scored his first goal of the tournament to put Poland ahead within the first two minutes of Thursday night’s quarter-final, but Ronaldo’s side were back on level terms before the break thanks to a wonderful strike from emerging talent Renato Sanches.
With no further goals in the tie, both teams faced the dreaded penalty shootout. Ronaldo uncharacteristically stepped up first to fire Portugal ahead and the confidence he showed in doing so spread throughout his countrymen – as Jakub Blaszczykowski was the only player to miss from the spot, allowing Portugal to claim a 5-3 win in the shootout.
Ronaldo became the first player to score in four different European Championships with the first of his brace against Hungary in their 3-3 Group F draw. However, that is the only game the talismanic forward has been able to find the net in this summer.
His frustrations continued against Poland in the Stade Velodrome, but it wasn’t for the lack of trying.
He could have been awarded a penalty after he was bundled over in the box by Michal Pazdan in the first half, before he wasted a fantastic chance from Joao Moutinho’s lofted ball after the break and then summed up his night by failing to connect with Sanches’ cross in the box in extra-time.
None of that seemed to get to the 31-year-old Madrid star though – as he insisted to reporters after the game that Portugal’s results are more important than his own personal display.
As translated by ESPN, Ronaldo said: “My own performance is not important. What counts is the team, and we did a fantastic job.
“I worked hard for the team, although I did not manage to score.
Today it was Renato (Sanches). I am delighted for him, he is doing well and now has his first goal at the Euros.
“The objective was to go through. We are in the semis and go on from here.”