I'll tell you mine, the European Championship 2004 final. My own country, Portugal, hosted the event and played beautifully all the way till the final. We ended up losing that final 2 - 1 against Greece, against a football style that would make any Catennacio team say "that's annoying". Curiously or not, Portugal lost the opening game 2 - 1 against... Greece! Then grabbed a deserved win over Russia, 2-0. The winner of the next game, Portugal-Spain, would go on to the quarter-finals. After a very tight encounter, Portugal won 1 - 0. Nuno Gomes was the scorer.
The quarter-finals would see one of the most thrilling matches ever in a European Championship, I'm talking about Portugal - England. Owen scored just 2 minutes after kick-off but constant attacking pressure from Portugal would see Helder Postiga score a late equaliser. The extra-time awaited and no one would be disappointed. Rui Costa scored his last goal with Portugal shirt from a beautiful long shot but 5 minutes later Lampard established the draw, 2 - 2 after 120 minutes. Penalty shoot-out was the next challenge. The match itself was a good mixture between technique and rough play. The penalty lottery went to sudden death method after one missed shot to each side (Beckham and Rui Costa). Suddenly, Portugal legend Eusébio da Silva Ferreira started shouting to goalkeeper Ricardo take off his gloves. And so he did. Ricardo defended Vassell's shot with his bare hands. He was so ecstatic at that moment he told the next Portugal penalty taker to get back to midfield. He was going to take the last penalty kick. He did so and he scored. Jorge Perestrelo (RIP), the most famous football commentator in Portugal at the time started shouting "Portugal, Portugal, Portugal..." It was the most memorable football moment ever in Portugal.
Penalty shoot-out moments:
Semi final was played against the Netherlands. Portugal won 2 - 1 and Maniche scored the best goal of the tournament. Words are too little to describe that goal so take a look:
The long awaited final pitted Portugal against Greece again. Greece had eliminated France and Czech Republic. I must say Czech Republic style was marvelous at that time, it was entertaining and joyful and everyone wanted to see a Portugal - Czech Republic final. Sadly, Greece won 1 - 0 in the semi final against Czech Republic with Dellas being the goal scorer. I remember the Czechs dominated the encounter but were beaten in the extra-time.
Thousands and thousands accompanied the national team from the hotel to the stadium and somehow they had already won. The joy present that day was something hard to describe and goes far beyond a football game. The players themselves were amazed at the atmosphere. So take a look if you want to:
Every time Portuguese National Anthem "A Portuguesa" is played it becomes a moment of pride and determination. And that day was no exception. There is the proof:
The final was played at Estadio da Luz before over 65,000 spectators. The game went according what Otto Rehhagel had in mind. So it was a terrible match to say the least. Besides the fact Portugal lost 1 - 0 it was a very poor display of football. Although constant attacking pressure from the Portuguese players, they stumbled against a very solid defense from Greece. It was almost unbearable to watch. Just before the hour mark, Greece earned a corner kick from which Angelos Charisteas scored. In fact, it was very similar to what happened to Czech Republic. Many players cried after the final whistle. I think it could be said that final caused more sadness to Portuguese people than joy to Greeks. After all it is a great achievement to play a European Championship Final.
That's all folks! Feel free to be more... Concise.