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Croatia vs. Portugal: Score and Twitter Reaction from Euro 2016

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2016

Marcelo Brozovic of Croatia, Andre Gomes of Portugal, Luka Modric of Croatia during the UEFA Euro 2016 round of 16 match between Croatia and Portugal on June 25, 2016 at the stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens, France.(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
VI-Images/Getty Images

Portugal needed extra time to book their spot in the quarter-final of UEFA Euro 2016 on Saturday, but in the end, Ricardo Quaresma scored the only goal in his team's 1-0 win over Croatia.

Chances were few in a closely fought first half where Croatia saw more of the ball and Portugal aimed for the counter. The pattern continued after half-time, and while both sides had a couple of looks, extra time always seemed inevitable.

Neither team took any major risks in extra time, but substitute Quaresma finally found the breakthrough after 117 minutes. Portugal will meet Poland in the quarter-final. 

As shared by beIN Sports, Luka Modric and Mario Mandzukic returned to the starting XI for Croatia after missing out on the 2-1 win over Spain:

beIN SPORTS @beINSPORTS

#CRO welcome back their star man ⭐️ Modric. But is he fully fit? #beINEuro16 #EURO2016 https://t.co/jvQ7x0IetV

For Portugal, Raphael Guerreiro returned from injury, while Adrien Silva was handed his first start in place of the disappointing Joao Moutinho.

Croatia started the match with plenty of attacking intentions, looking to find a gap in Portugal's defence, but from the opening minute, it became clear neither side planned on giving their opponents any space.

Darko Vojinovic/Associated Press

Modric didn't find much support, and Ivan Rakitic was seemingly fouled every single time he touched the ball. Portugal aimed more for the counter, looking to use their pace in attack, but the Croatians did a fine job isolating Cristiano Ronaldo early.

The action was limited to a handful of fouls and strong duels in the first 20 minutes, and Ronaldo was lucky to escape without a booking after stepping on Darijo Srna's foot. Croatia had more reasons to be upset with the official, as Jose Fonte got away clean after a nasty step on Rakitic's arm.

Apart from those incidents, there was little to discuss. Miguel Delaney of ESPN FC was a little disappointed:

Miguel Delaney @MiguelDelaney

Barely had a shot yet.

Football Italia echoed that sentiment:

footballitalia @footballitalia

So far there has been nothing to write about in this game other than Ivan Perisic's hair. #CROPOR

Bleacher Report UK provided this image of Ivan Perisic's odd new hairstyle:

B/R Football @brfootball

Barber: What would you like? Ivan Perisic: Trim on the top, tablecloth on the sides. Barber: Done #EURO2016 https://t.co/QWEeGzEFwU

The Inter Milan man had the best chance of the first half, spinning inside the box before rifling a shot into the side-netting. On the other side of the pitch, Pepe powered a header over Danijel Subasic's crossbar from an offside position.

Ivan Strinic should have provided a better cross after great work from Perisic, but his delivery flew behind the forwards and out of harm's way. After just one minute of added time, both teams headed for the dressing room with the score still 0-0.

Bleacher Report UK couldn't help itself:

B/R Football @brfootball

Looking for first-half highlights like… 🚫 #Euro2016 https://t.co/HH3yUwWADL

Portugal manager Fernando Santos didn't make any changes at half-time, but Andre Gomes made way in favour of the young Renato Sanches just five minutes into the second half.

Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Associated Press

Things opened up slightly for Croatia, and Inter Milan midfielder Marcelo Brozovic had two good looks on goal in less than 30 seconds. First, he almost connected with a great cross from Strinic, and the resulting corner kick was taken quickly. It surprised the Portuguese defenders, but his shot missed the mark.

Sanches made his presence felt almost immediately after replacing Gomes, combining well with Joao Mario before scuffing his shot wide.

Yahoo Sport UK's Andrew Gaffney thought he could have done better:

Andrew Gaffney @GaffneyVLC

Renato Sanches build-up play was neat but the shot was.. like Xhaka's penalty attempt. #EURO2016

Domagoj Vida just missed the target with a glancing header after a lovely delivery from Rakitic, and Nani wanted a penalty after Strinic hit him in his follow-through. Replays showed there was definite contact, but the speedy winger milked the challenge too much, and the official didn't budge.

Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Associated Press

Sanches' introduction gave the Portuguese renewed energy, and the Croatian full-backs came under tremendous pressure. But with 15 minutes left to play, neither side seemed any closer to a goal, and extra time appeared likely.

ESPN FC's Tommy Smyth didn't hide his thoughts on what he was seeing:

Tommy Smyth @TommySmythESPN

Who said this was going to be a great game. Wrong its awful boring and not at all well played.

Quaresma made his way onto the pitch with minutes left to play, and Nikola Kalinic, Croatia's hero in the win over Spain, joined him. Neither managed to find a late breakthrough, however, so the match headed for extra time.

Football blogger Sergi Dominguez said what most were likely thinking:

Sergi Domínguez @FutbolSergi

30 more minutes of this everyone has to endure. Fun times ahead.

Neither team was willing to take any chances early in extra time, with Perisic sending a looping header toward Rui Patricio's goal after four minutes. Kalinic then powered a shot well wide of the goal from a promising position, wasting a great chance after doing all of the hard work.

The Times' Rory Smith wondered whether he was to blame:

Rory Smith @RorySmith

This is my 12th live #Euro2016 game. I have seen 13 goals. I have not been to a game where both teams scored. I should probably leave.

Portugal introduced Danilo Pereira early in the second half of extra time, a defensive substitution, and it was clear Santos' men were playing for penalties. 

Vida came agonisingly close to handing his team the lead after Patricio slipped and watched a corner sail over his head, but the defender couldn't keep his header on target. Soon after, Kalinic couldn't keep a header down either, allowing Patricio to make an easy save.

LENS, FRANCE - JUNE 25:  Ricardo Quaresma of Portugal is tackled by Ivan Strinic of Croatia during the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between Croatia and Portugal at Stade Bollaert-Delelis on June 25, 2016 in Lens, France.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty I
Clive Mason/Getty Images

The Inter Milan man went on to hit the post with a header. On the resulting counter, Quaresma finally broke the deadlock with a close-range header, pushing home the rebound after Subasic denied Ronaldo.

After the restart, Marko went on a surging run through the Portuguese defence but couldn't find an open team-mate, and Vida only just missed the target with an ambitious volley in the final minute of added time. Portugal survived, however, booking a meeting with Poland in the next round.

Post-Match Reaction

As shared by Football Italia, the match-winner thought his team deserved to advance to the quarter-final:

footballitalia @footballitalia

Quaresma: "Victory was deserved. We have to play like this in the next rounds." #CROPOR 😐

Croatia were perceived as the favourites on this side of the bracket, so this win provides Portugal with a unique opportunity to go on a deep run. Ronaldo and his team-mates were far from their best on Saturday, but the same goes for Poland, and Portugal will enter their clash as favourites.

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