Portugal in Euro finals
July 2, 2004
Portugal in Euro finals

LISBON, Portugal (AP)

Luis Figo produced the performance his country was waiting for as Portugal advanced to the final of a major soccer championship for the first time by beating the Netherlands 2-1 in the semifinal of Euro 2004 on Wednesday.
With Figo repeatedly pulling the Dutch defense apart, Portugal had enough chances to win by three or four goals before wildly cheering home fans at Jose Alvalade stadium. {{more}} The Real Madrid star hadn’t been at his best until this game, but showed why he’s one of the most exciting players in soccer.
“I’d trade everything I’ve ever won for this one moment,” Figo said.
The support we’ve been getting, just thinking about it gives me goose bumps.”
Cristiano Ronaldo headed home a corner in the 26th minute and Nuno Maniche drove a stunning 22-meter strike high into the corner to the left of Edwin van der Sar in the 58th to put the host two goals ahead before a Jorge Andrade own-goal gave the Dutch some hope.
The Portuguese, who lost 2-1 to underdog Greece in the opening game, finally made it to a championship game after semifinal exits at the 1966 World Cup and the 1984 and 2000 Euros. On July 4, they will face the winner of Thursday’s other semifinal between the Czech Republic and Greece.
“It’s a historic moment for the country. The whole team is happy right now. It’s difficult to describe the emotions,” Figo said.