Portugal through to Euro 2004 quarters

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:07 IST

Nuno Gomes was the toast of all of Portugal after scoring the goal against Spain that saw Portugal entering the last eight of Euro 2004.

Portugal through to Euro 2004 quarters

Lisbon:

Nuno Gomes was the toast of all of Portugal after scoring the goal against Spain that saw Portugal entering the last eight of Euro 2004. The Benfica striker, introduced at half-time as a substitute for Pauleta, struck the decisive blow in the 57th minute with a powerful low shot from 20 yards to give Luiz Felipe Scolari's side 1-0 victory yesterday. It was a desperately frustrating night for Spain, who had gone into the match knowing a draw would be enough to put them into the quarter-finals and were twice denied an equaliser. Spain were edged out of the knockout phase by Greece, who advanced on the strength of having scored more goals than the Spanish, despite going down 2-1 to Russia in Faro in their final group A match. Only once was Spain's goalkeeper Iker Casillas called upon to make a save, which he did by beating away a fierce drive from Benfica full-back Miguel after 20 minutes. In attack, Spain's best moments of the opening period came courtesy of the cultivated left foot of Vicente, whose crosses twice presented Spain's captain Raul with opportunities to put his side ahead. The Real Madrid striker was inches away from connecting with the first one as it skidded across Portugal's goalmouth and was let down by a poor first touch on the second, ten minutes before the break. Forced to gamble, Scolari withdrew Pauleta at the interval and replaced him with Gomes. Memorable win The Benfica striker had not been on the pitch for 12 minutes when he collected Figo's pass on the edge of the Spanish area, turned and struck a low shot into the bottom corner of the net. The Jose Alvalade stadium erupted before settling down for a finale of nerve-shredding tension. Three times Spain came within a whisker of equalising. Torres struck the post from 12 yards out after Xavi Alonso's well-judged pass had put him in behind the Portuguese back line, Albert Luque had his chip headed off the line by Ricado Carvalho and Juanito's back post header struck the bar before slithering away to safety. But his side held their nerve and held out for a memorable win which will have come as a major relief to the tournament organizers. (With wire inputs)

Topics : Football
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