Fernando Santos admits room for improvement as Portugal edge into last eight

26 June 2016 06:53

Portugal coach Fernando Santos made no apologies for their dire 1-0 extra-time victory over Croatia which secured a Euro 2016 quarter-final spot.

The first shot on goal registered by either side came in the 117th minute with the otherwise anonymous Cristiano Ronaldo's effort rebounding for substitute Ricardo Quaresma to head in from a couple of yards.

It meant Portugal reached the last eight without having won a match in 90 minutes but Santos was unrepentant.

"Sometimes you have to be pragmatic. It'd be nice to play pretty but that's not always how you win tournaments," he told his post-match press conference.

"We were up against an amazing team and this was always going to be tight and strong.

"It was a very tactical match. At times we could have passed the ball faster but Croatia influenced that.

"We didn't allow them to counter-attack but going forwards we do have room for improvement."

Croatia coach Ante Cacic felt his side deserved more than they got out of the game having created more, if not necessarily particularly good, chances.

"Everything was perfect apart form the fact we didn't score. We weren't successful in attack," he said.

"We expected Portugal to counter and we were playing really well for 120 minutes, controlling the match, not conceding any chances except the last one that was our mistake and we were punished for that. That's football.

"Many times the better side doesn't win and that's the case tonight.

"Of course I'm sad. We had a great chance and a good draw. We knew if we beat Portugal we'd play Poland, but that's tournaments.

"I can only congratulate my players."

Source: PA