It was a rather dull night where Portugal eventually showed all of their experience and came in as better side which was decided by extra time. The match had many expectations that it would be a classic and a brilliant match on the cards, but failed to live up to the expectation as both the teams sit back so as the opposition could make a move and they can catch them on the break. This mentality cost Croatia as they were on the losing end, but Portugal too were not convincing enough.
Portugal vs Croatia: Quaresma late strike sees Portugal through into the Quarterfinals
This was the worst and the dullest match at the Euros so far. Croatia had their chances to when Damagoj Vida and Marcelo Brozovic came close to the headers and even the hero against Spain Ivan Persic had one fine shot that hit the frame of the goal. The Croatian Medfield duo of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic were the passive figures in the game as they struggled for space. The more frustrated figure was Cristiano Ronaldo, who was completely out of the match for most of them until the sizzling counter attack from which Portugal came in with a goal. Just after Ivan Persic hit the bar with a fine shot Renato Sanchez came in with the ball and took it forward and then hooked it to Nani who further passed it to Cristiano Ronaldo, who came with a fine low effort, but was blocked by the Croatian number one but the loose ball fell into the path of Quaresma, who made no mistake in slamming the ball into the net. The goal came late in the game at 117 minutes and proved to be enough to seek Portugal through into Quarters where they will face another Dark horse in the name of Poland.
The nerves got Croatia out
Croatia was touted as the favorite to win the game as they came up with impressive displays in the group stages. This was their first quarterfinal and that’s and they pampered on the occasion. The Croatian defense stayed firm but their main potent weapon that is their creative Medfield struggled to make an impact in the game. Last match hero Ivan Persic was also poor and it was the Croatian defenders who really tested the Portugal goalkeeper. What was a real grave disappointment for the Croatian team was their veteran striker Mario Mandzukic looked completely out of form in the tournament and the same was the case in the last match.
Portugal defense finally performed
Going into the tournament the Portugal team had a quite experienced back line that was leaded by the Real Madrid center half Pepe. Even after having so much experience at the back line Portugal went on the struggle against the much weaker teams in the name of Austria and Hungary which breached their defense and Hungary even came up with three goals. This was a match where the Portugal defense or I would say Pepe showed their Real class. They completely isolated Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric to devoid them of ample space form which they could show off their creativity which was one major reason for the Croatian defeat.
Portugal still not consistent enough
I don’t know what happened with this Portugal side cause seeing on their team sheet they certainly looks like a team worth challenging the title but have failed to deliver that sort of performance. Though Portugal proceeded into the quarters but they were not consistent enough as they failed to test the Croatian goalkeeper. Ronaldo looked completely out of the game until the 117 minutes, but Renato Sanchez and Ricardo Qauresma were the two positives from the last night match for Portugal.