Cristiano Ronaldo Rises to the Occasion, Lifts Portugal Past Wales
The roofing inside Stade de Lyon captures halftime cigarette smoke.
The floodlights cut through it, creating a thin layer of haze that contributes to the increasing layer of grease on fans’ faces — the smell and aura of a European semifinal.
As the halftime haze lifted here in western France, so did Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese mega-star majestically rose to meet a second-half corner, hanging endlessly in the air as he bullied Wales’ James Chester and ricocheted the ball off his head and past ‘keeper Wayne Hennessey.
In that moment, with the stakes so high, it was a goal only Ronaldo could score. When his feet finally came to earth, the world’s best player sprinted to the corner flag, arms outstretched, with an expression as if it was the only goal he’d ever scored. It was the only goal Portugal needed.