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Portugal beat Croatia 1-0 in Euro 2016 Round of 16


06-26-2016 13:12 BJT

Portugal would face Croatia -- and there was plenty of talent on the pitch, most notably the two Real Madrid stars playing on either side -- Cristiano Ronaldo for Portugal, and Luka Modric for the Balkans. Despite all the world class ability, this match would be dull and insipid, and the two teams failed to register a shot on target in 90 minutes of action -- the first time that has ever happened at the Euros. The game would need extra time to be settled, and a winner would come just as kicks loomed.

Croatia looked the better side in the first half but Portugal had the first chance when Pepe headed Raphael Guerreiro's free kick over the bar.

Croatia continued to dominate possession after the break, but their wasteful finishing continued as Marcelo Brozovic narrowly failed to connect with Ivan Strinic's cross.

Substitute Renato Sanches registered Portugal's first attempt of the second half when he broke forward and played a one-two with Joao Mario but steered the ball wide of the target.

Ronaldo did not fare much better and, despite occasional flashes of skill, was kept quiet for most of the game.

The match finished scoreless and went into extra time when Portugal's 32-year-old Besiktas forward Ricardo Quaresma, captured the last chance in the 117th minute when Cristiano Ronaldo's close-range shot was denied by keeper Danijel Subasic. Quaresma was on hand to knock the rebound into the empty net.

And after being ousted from the tournament, Croatian captain Darijo Srna cried. It has been an emotional couple of weeks, as his father passed away during the team's opening game against Turkey.

"Our goal is to win the game, and finally luck came to us. Croatia are a strong team, a great team. They have a lot of excellent players. We felt happy to win and what we need now is rest and to make good preparations for the next match, and our opponent -- Poland," Quaresma said. 

"I think the win belongs to our whole team. We paid a lot of effort to be able to progress into today's stage. It was a pity for Croatia to lose. We were able to get a goal right at the end of the match. Now we advance to the next round, and there is not much time for us to rest. We all worked hard and sacrificed in today's game, which resulted in the win," said Pepe, Portugal defender.

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