The most anticipated event of Saturday afternoon was, without doubt, Portugal v Croatia – a game which turned out insufferable to watch in the first 90 minutes (not one shot on target), a little better in the first half of extra-time, and frenetic in the second when Croatia finally began to shine. And just when they threatened the Portuguese keeper for with a Perisic header that rattled the post, Portugal went straight up the other end got the winner. A rapid counter attack, a Nani cross-come-shot, a Cristiano effort saved by Subasic, leaving Quaresma with the simple task of nodding home from two yards. They were the first efforts on goal from either side all night…in the 117th minute.
Tough on Croatia
It was tough on Croatia, as they played splendidly in that final period. Modric, who had been sitting deep, started to push forward. And Portugal, who had stemmed Croatia’s flow for the entirety up until that point, started to fade. There were 10 minutes when there only looked like being one victor, but football isn’t fair sometimes. Even in the little time left after Croatia conceded they had a wonderful opportunity to equalise but, alas, it escaped them. The miserly football of Fernando Santos’ men triumphed, but hey, at least we get to see Cristiano Ronaldo continue in the competition.
Bale's Wales march on
We’ll also get to see Gareth Bale, who didn’t score this time but provided the killer cross which forced Northern Ireland’s own goal. Prior to Wales and Portugal, Poland made it through to the quarter-finals on penalties. Switzerland and Shaqiri – who scored the goal of the tournament so far – went out. All in all, it was a day which left me thinking that the teams eliminated were very unlucky. However, now we look forward to Spain against Italy on Monday, game coming just days after Álvaro Morata said goodbye to his Italian teammates at Juventus. I’d advise he wear a helmet, as they won’t be in a congratulatory mood.