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Portugal 2 England 2 (6-5 pen)

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24 June 2004 | ©football365.com

England crashed out of Euro 2004 following their 6-5 quarter-final loss on penalties to hosts Portugal at the Luz Stadium on Thursday.

Captain David Beckham and striker Darius Vassell missed their spot-kicks to hand the advantage to the home side, for whom playmaker Rui Costa also missed.

Michael Owen handed England an early opener before Portugal went 2-1 up through goals by Helder Postiga and Rui Costa, but Frank Lampard pulled England level with six minutes of extra-time to go.

England started the match wearing black armbands in memory of fan Steven Smith who died in Lisbon after their clash with Croatia.

Sven-Goran Eriksson's men needed just two minutes to open the scoring when Constinha's back-header from goalkeeper David James' long ball fell kindly for Owen, who produced a brilliant finish on theturn toflick past Ricardo.

The hosts hit back almost immediately when Figo put in a good low cross from the left for Cristiano Ronaldo, who neatly turned Ashley Cole, but the Arsenal star recovered in time to block the Manchester United winger's shot on goal.

Nuno Gomes almost levelled for Portugal in the 10th minute when he latched onto a Figo cross, but the striker's flick flew just wide of the far post.

Owen almost extended England's lead in the 19th minute when he ran onto a Paul Scholes flick, but the Liverpool striker sent his lob just over the bar.

Gomes threatened shortly afterwards, but he sent his header just wide following good work down the left flank by Nuno Valente.

England were dealt a major blow just before the half hour when star striker Wayne Rooney went off with a foot injury, with Aston Villa's Vassell replacing the Everton man.

There were signs of panic among the England defenders just before the break when Gary Neville fouled Ronaldo on the edge of the area, but Portugal skipper Figo blasted the resulting freekick high over.

The second half was played at a much slower pace than the first, with Portugal taking the game to England in a bid to get an equaliser.

The first real shot on goal came in the 67th minute when the impressive Sabrossa Simao surged down the left flank before playing a one-two with Maniche and cut inside, but the winger's shot flew just wide of James' far post.

England were now pushing everyone behind the ball as Portugal continued their attacking onslaught.

Figo and Simao went close, but James was in inspiring form for the Three Lions.

Portugal drew level in the 83rd minute when Helder Postiga, a surprise substitute for Figo,rose between central defenders Sol Campbell and John Terry to head the ball into the far corner.

There was a moment of controversy in the dying seconds whenCampbell hit the woodwork from a Beckham freekick and the defender followed up to nod the rebound into the net, but fellowTerry was adjudged to have fouledRicardo to send the match into extra-time.

Portugal looked the stronger of the two sides in the first half of extra-time, with the silver goal rule applying, and the hosts were denied a penalty when Nuno Gomes went down under a Gary Neville challenge, but the referee waved away the appeal.

However, the hosts were not to be denied and duly went ahead in the 109th minute when Rui Costa collected the ball on the halfway line to surge towards the England goal before unleashing a fierce drive from the edge of the area, which left James no chance as the ball went in off the crossbar.

Portugal almost made it 3-1 four minutes later when they launched a quick counter-attack which culminated in Simao shooting just wide of the far post.

But England made it 2-2 in the 114th minute when John Terry rose highest to nod down a Beckham corner to Chelsea teammate Frank Lampard, who turned neatly before firing into the corner of the net to send the match into a penalty shoot-out.

And from there it was mayham as Beckham blasted his effort well over the bar, before Rui Costa followed suit to keep both teams in it. However, Vassell was the unlucky one to miss the decisive penalty, with Ricardo stepping up to shoot past James and sent all of Portugal into ecstacy.



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