Quaresma winner sees Portugal through

Quaresma struck three minutes from the end of the extra period after a Cristiano Ronaldo shot was saved by Danijel Subasic to settle the tie just a minute after Croatia's Ivan Perisic hit the post with a header.

Portugal's Ricardo Quaresma celebrates after scoring his team's winner against Croatia.   -  Reuters

Croatia's Ivan Rakitic is fouled by Portugal's Joao Mario as William Carvalho looks on.   -  Reuters

Substitute Ricardo Quaresma scored in the 117th minute to help Portugal beat Croatia 1-0 on Saturday and advance to the European Championship quarterfinals.

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Portugal settled a poor game with its only serious attack, when Cristiano Ronaldo’s one shot all match was parried by goalkeeper Danijel Subasic across the goalmouth in the second half of extra time. Quaresma stooped to head the ball into an unguarded net from close range.

Portugal had broken away in a rare fast attack after Croatia forward Ivan Perisic struck the post with a shot.

Portugal will play Poland in the quarterfinals on Thursday in Marseille. It is clearly in the weaker half of the bracket, avoiding Spain, Italy, Germany and France until the final on July 10.

Somehow, Portugal and 31-year-old Ronaldo have a chance to win an elusive first title after three draws in the group stage and looking incapable of scoring in a cautious, mistake-filled match in the last 16.

Neither side aimed a shot or header on target until extra time, and the match only sparked into life in the closing minutes.

Two technically gifted teams, which were among the best attacking forces at Euro 2016, disappointed in the 90 minutes. It ended with whistles from the crowd.

Portugal showed more attacking intent after a spoiling first half when 18-year-old Renato Sanches came on as a 50th-minute substitute. Sanches had a clear chance in the 57th but pulled his right-footed shot well wide.

Neither side aimed a shot or header on target before extra time, and there was not any attempt on goal until 24 minutes passed.

For once, Croatia’s red-and-white checkerboard shirts were more suited to a chess match than soccer.

Creative midfielders Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic were closely marked and their rhythm broken up by Portugal’s willingness to foul.

Ronaldo saw little of the ball. His most decisive acts in the 90 minutes were two clearances in his own penalty area.

Still, after being so prolific in the group stage Ronaldo’s 32 goal attempts had been more than eight team totals, including Italy’s his first attempt in Lens helped Portugal into the last eight.

Key Opta stats:

- This game saw the longest wait for a shot in a game at Euro 2016 (24:40), beating the previous longest time of 12:13 in Belgium's game with Republic of Ireland.
- It was the first time Cristiano Ronaldo had started a European Championships game and not registered a single shot within 90 minutes.
- Ricardo Quaresma scored the first goal in extra time at the Euros since Andrey Arshavin in 2008 (v Netherlands).
- Portugal have reached the quarter-final in each of their last six European Championships (since 1996).
- Croatia have never scored against Portugal in four games against them (390 minutes without a goal).

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