Another tournament is over, and for England yet another heart-breaking loss in a penalty shoot-out. England fans are left to wonder when luck will be on their side for their team to come out
victorious when a game has to be decided by spot kicks. For much of the game it seemed that England would win this quarter-final game after leading for 80 minutes. Confidence grew as the
game wore on that England could hold on to their lead after Michael Owen had put the visitors ahead in just the third minute of the game. Owen monopolised on a mistake from Costinha who was trying to head the ball back to his goalkeeper, however as the ball dropped over Portugal's defenders Owen was there to pounce and turn, and chip the ball over Ricardo and into the opponents net. It was a magnificent goal.
England's wonder-kid, Wayne Rooney, on whose shoulders the hopes of a nation rested, had to leave the game in the 27th minute with an injury which was later determined as a broken metatarsal bone in his right foot. From that point on the feeling was that England would miss their young star whose skills had lit up the tournament and had given a new energy to the England side. Still, it wasn't until the 83rd minute when Portugal broke England's defence and got the equaliser through Postiga. While it was so disappointing for England to have conceded the equaliser they pushed on and it looked as though Sol Campbell had got the winner in the dying minute of play, however the referee indicated that John Terry had fouled Ricardo and the goal was not given - despite the linesman indicating the goal should stand. England fans were lived at the decision, however the referee's ruling is all that matters at the end of the day, and so the game went into extra time.
It looked as though the game would be settled by a silver goal when Rui Costa capitalised on a mistake by Phil Neville and put his side ahead with great strike, however England weren't finished. Frank Lampard again produced the goods to keep England in the game and the two sides battled on for a further fifteen minutes of extra time. It was inevitable that the game would to go penalties which as
we know isn't England's strong point. England captain, David Beckham, missed the first penalty and England trailed behind Portugal until Rui Costa missed with the home side's third PK. And so to sudden death, and in the seventh round of spot kicks Darius Vassell missed and Ricardo scored thus sending Portugal into the semi-final of the competition.
A deflated England side left Portugal maybe not having made the mark we would have liked on this competition, but the team now has a couple of months to re-group and concentrate on qualifying
for World Cup 2006 in two year's time.
Ricardo, Miguel (Rui Costa 79 mins), Andrade, Ricardo Carvalho, Nuno Valente, Maniche, Costinha (Simao 63 mins), Deco, Figo (Postiga 75 mins), Nuno Gomes, Ronaldo.
Subs Not Used: Quim, Moreira, Paulo Ferreira, Rui Jorge, Couto, Petit, Beto, Tiago.
James #13, G Neville #2, Terry #5, Campbell #6, A Cole #3, Beckham #7, Lampard #11, Gerrard #4 (Hargreaves 81 mins - #18), Scholes #8 (P Neville 57 mins - #14), Rooney #9 (Vassell 27 mins - #23), Owen #10.
Subs Not Used: Robinson #1, Walker #22, Bridge #12, Butt #17, Carragher #16, J Cole #19, Dyer #20, Heskey #21, King #15. (Full Squad)
Portugal Goals: Postiga (83 mins), Rui Costa (110 mins)
England Goals: Owen (3 mins), Lampard (115 mins)
0-0 X Beckham
1-0 / Deco
1-1 / Owen
2-1 / Simao
2-2 / Lampard
2-2 X Rui Costa
2-3 / Terry
3-3 / Ronaldo
3-4 / Hargreaves
4-4 / Maniche
4-5 / A Cole
5-5 / Postiga
5-5 X Vassell
6-5 / Ricardo
Note: 'X' denotes a miss, '/' denotes penalty scored
Croatia Cautions: Costinha, Deco, Ricardo Carvalho
England Cautions: Gerrard, G Neville, P Neville
Referee: Urs Meier (Switzerland)