- Portugal a la Santos… -
uefa euro 2016 - round of 16
|Croatia||0 - 1||Portugal|
Portugal came away with a 1-0 victory over Croatia in extra time and advanced to the quarter-finals where they will play Poland. Santos’ men scored a late goal in extra time with Quaresma’s tap in header after a great counter-attack. The Portuguese were not convincing, but with Santos’ “favorite” 1-0 Portugal is through to the quarter-finals.
Croatia was one of the most impressive teams during the group stages, defeating Spain in the final matchday to win Group C. On the other hand, Portugal failed to live up to their name, finishing 3rd in arguably one of the easiest groups at the tournament. The two teams played to an extremely unentertaining match with both teams prioritizing the clean sheet, rather than offensive play, in hopes of scoring a counterattack goal that would decide the game. The first and only real chance of normal regulation fell to Croatia in the 60th minute with Vida’s header from Rakitic’s in-swinging free-kick. The game finally came to life in the final 10 minutes of extra time, as Croatia pinned Portugal into their penalty area. Croatia came close to an opener on many occasions and were even denied by the post. But it was Portugal, through a fantastic counter-attack that stole the victory with only 3 minutes remaining in overtime. Renato led the surge, passed it off to Nani, who picked out Ronaldo on the opposite end of the penalty box. The Real Madrid star failed to convert from close range however Quaresma was there to tap in the header, giving Portugal the lead. Croatia had one final opportunity to pull level, but Vida’s left-footed shot agonizingly went wide. The final whistle sent the Portuguese into celebrations while the Croatians digest the bitter end to their tournament.
Portugal continue to look more and more like “Santos” team rather than “the Ronaldo Show.” A great defense first, accompanied by a good counter attack, is the style of play the former Greek National Team Coach likes to implement. Today, it worked against Croatia and he earned his “favorite” 1-0 result, barely enough to send his side through to the quarter-finals.
Portugal will play Poland in the final 8 with their eyes on a place in the semi-finals. Croatia, who had a great run in the group stage, will bow out of the tournament earlier than they hoped.