Gelsenkirchen, July 1 :

Portugal entered the semi-finals after defeating England 3-1 on penalties in their quarter-final match after a goalless draw here today.

Neither of these sides could find a way through during 120 minutes with Portugal unable to translate into goals a numerical advantage they had held for almost an hour, thanks to Wayne Rooney’s 62nd-minute dismissal.

The match became the second to be settled on penalty kicks and, just as Jens Lehmann was Germany’s hero on Friday, Ricardo was Portugal’s today, saving the kicks from Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher to leave Cristiano Ronaldo to strike home the decisive penalty.

In the initial moments, a slip by Ricardo Carvalho gave Rooney an early sight of goal but his shot was charged down. In the ninth minute, a bright start revived echoes of these rivals’ exciting UEFA EURO 2004 quarter-final. There were chances at both ends as Rooney fired a half-volley at Ricardo from 20 yards while Cristiano Ronaldo latched onto a poor John Terry pass and tested Paul Robinson with a low drive from a similar range.

From a Luis Figo free-kick into the box, England were left looking vulnerable as the ball ricocheted off a couple of white shirts but Tiago was unable to react quickly enough. Moments later Maniche let fly but his shot was blocked by a defender.

In the 17th minute, with England enjoying a spell of pressure, Rooney played in Gerrard inside the penalty area but his ball across the six-yard box was met by Miguel’s boot.

In the 19th minute, the action switched to the other end where Ronaldo ran at Manchester United teammate Gary Neville, jinking this way and that before firing a shot high over the bar.

In the extra time, England threatened as Gerrard drove into the area and crossed towards substitute Peter Crouch but Miguel got there just in front of the striker to head clear. At the other end Simao drew a fingertip save from Robinson.

Painuly, an editorial consultant with The Himalayan Times, is writing exclusively for the paper from Germany