Portugal substitute Ricardo Quaresma’s extra-time winner stunned an in-form Croatia side many tipped to win Euro 2016.
The Portuguese soaked up enormous pressure, with Quaresma heading Cristiano Ronaldo’s parried shot into an empty net in the 117th minute to secure a 1-0 win and put them into Thursday’s quarterfinal against Poland.
Coach Fernando Santos says: “It was a very tactical match. Portugal tried to take over but Croatia didn’t let us, but when they tried to take over we didn’t let them.
“You have to look at both sides of the coin. We faced an amazing team.”
Portugal conceded possession to Croatia for long spells, but the fact that neither side managed a shot on target until Ronaldo’s late effort that led to the goal shows how well the respective teams’ defensive plans worked.
Croatia enjoyed 17 shots to their opponents’ six, but failed to register a single effort on target though they did hit the post through Ivan Perisic’s header just before Portugal scored.
And a dikbek coach Ante Cacic says: “Everything was perfect except we didn’t score, so we weren’t successful in attack.”
“That was our mistake and we were punished, but that’s football and many times the best team doesn’t win.”