Portugal did it again last Thursday, continuing their progress at UEFA EURO 2016 despite not winning a single game within normal time.
Fernando Santos’s side are nothing if not consistent, their quarter-final penalty shoot-out victory over Poland coming after their fifth stalemate at the end of 90 minutes in France. Having kicked off with Group F draws against Iceland, Austria and Hungary, Cristiano Ronaldo and Co came closest to a regulation success when they beat Croatia via an extra-time goal in the last 16.
Now safely through to the semi-finals, Portugal could conceivably lift the trophy on 10 July with more of the same – and who would put it past a team that have led for a mere 24 minutes while digging deep to equalise on four separate occasions? They certainly would not be the first side to take a more attritional route to glory, as EURO2016.com explains.
Atlético Madrid, 2009/10 UEFA Europa League
W3 D8 L4 – champions
The Rojiblancos were not obvious candidates when they transferred from the UEFA Champions League after managing just three group stage points. Still, Diego Forlán’s 90th-minute clincher took them past Galatasaray in the last 32, and Atleti then overcame Sporting CP, Valencia and Liverpool on away goals. That was not an option in the final, but Atlético did the next best thing, Forlán scoring deep into extra time to see off Fulham and end a 14-year wait for silverware.
PSV Eindhoven, 1987/88 European Cup
W3 D5 L1 – champions
Extra time was too soon for PSV. Guus Hiddink’s Dutch double winners mustered victories against Galatasaray and Rapid Wien (twice), though none after round two. They squeezed past Bordeaux and Real Madrid on away goals following 1-1 draws in France and Spain, then outlasted Benfica in a goalless final. Even the penalty shoot-out went to sudden death. António Veloso (father of Miguel) missed and the Netherlands’ golden summer began.
Russia, 2013 UEFA European Under-17 Championship
W1 D4 – champions
Russia registered a solitary win and four draws, yet their deadly accuracy from the penalty spot saw Dmitri Khomukha’s men through in Slovakia. Having dispatched Ukraine 3-0 on the opening day, Russia netted just once more, in a draw with Italy that rubber-stamped pole position in their group. They drew the semi-final and final 0-0 before showing their class from the spot to down Sweden (10-9) and Italy (5-4). “I’m lost for words,” said defender Dzhamaldin Khodzhaniyazov. He was not the only one.
*Statistics are for the group stage onwards