Cristiano Ronaldo made European Championship history as Portugal ended Wales’s extraordinary Euro 2016 journey with a 2-0 semifinal win on Wednesday that sent them into the final.
In what was billed as a shootout between Ronaldo and his Real Madrid teammate Gareth Bale, it was the Portugal captain who prevailed, opening the scoring in Lyon with a majestic 50th-minute header that saw him tie France great Michel Platini’s record of nine goals at Euro finals.
He also teed up Nani for Portugal’s second goal and finished the night consoling Bale on the Stade de Lyon pitch.
“The team did a marvellous job to reach the final. I hope on Sunday you’ll see me crying with joy,” Ronaldo said.
“I always said I wanted to win something with Portugal. I’ve been at the highest level for 13 years. The statistics never lie.”
Bale told ITV: “We’re obviously massively disappointed. But we’ve got to be proud of ourselves first and foremost.
“We’ve given everything, on the pitch, off the pitch. We’ve tried to enjoy the experience of the tournament. We want to thank the fans for all the support we’ve had – it’s been absolutely incredible.”
Fernando Santos’s Portugal now go on to a Sunday showdown at the Stade de France with either Germany or hosts France.
It will be only Portugal’s second major final after Euro 2004, when a 19-year-old Ronaldo was left in tears on the Estadio da Luz pitch in Lisbon after the hosts were beaten 1-0 by Greece.
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