Portugal celebrates Ronaldo’s new Euro 2016 epic

Lisbon (AFP) – Tens of thousands of fans packed into one of Lisbon’s main squares exploded with joy as Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal completed their landmark win over Wales to reach the Euro 2016 final.

Horns blared out and flags were hurled in the air as the final whistle ended the match with a 2-0 win in which Ronaldo scored the opening goal.

“We are in the final, we are in the final,” became the mass chant in the Praca do Comercio, which was overlooked by a giant screen to show the match.

The wall of noise soon spread into neighbouring streets as fans celebrated another step in their campaign to get over the trauma of losing the Euro final on home territory in 2004.

Portugal has not forgotten images of a 19-year-old Ronaldo in tears after the 1-0 defeat by Greece 12 years ago.

Huge cheers went up every time Ronaldo appeared on the giant screen. His goal on Wednesay allowed him to equal the record nine scored in European Championship finals matches by France’s Michel Platini. 

“When he jumped to score the first goal everyone could see that he is the best player in the world,” said 43-year-old teacher Maria Silva.

“We deserved the win, we will be champions,” said 14-year-old fan Maria Beatrix Fernandes.

“They showed a lot of energy and it paid off,” added 38-year-old Jorge Novo.

The team, who will play Germany or France in Sunday’s final, have become front page news for days as football fever mounts in a country already mad for the sport.

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