Croatia vs Portugal - Tactical Report

Portugal advanced to the quarterfinal stage, riding on Ricardo Quaresma's 117th-minute strike against Croatia in Lens on Saturday.

Portugal advanced to the quarterfinal stage, riding on Ricardo Quaresma's 117th-minute strike against Croatia in Lens on Saturday.

Croatia, playing a 4-2-3-1 formation, took an aggressive approach with Ivan Perisic, Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric dictating play for the team.

Pepe, partnering Southampton’s Fonte in central defence, used his experience to deal with the threat. The Portuguese defensive team effected 25 clearances in the attacking third of the pitch.

With Nani and skipper Cristiano Ronaldo leading the line in a 4-4-2 system, Portugal failed to create chances but did well to soak in the pressure exerted by the Croatians. With Modric pulling the strings, Croatia played a high number of passes in the middle third — 349 successful out of 400 — compared to Portugal’s 193 out of 245, thereby wresting control of the midfield.

Croatia, however, failed to translate the dominance into goals and was guilty of not converting the 13 chances that came its way.

The introduction of Renato Sanches brought more directness to Portugal’s play, but the teenager was guilty of far too many mis-passes.

A goalless 90 minutes dragged the match into extra-time and the second period of it finally saw some exciting play.

Croatia was all over the Portuguese defence and almost took the lead twice. Once when Domagoj Vida put the ball narrowly wide and minutes later Perisic’s header was tipped onto the post by Portuguese goalkeeper, Rui Patricio.

The deciding moment came just 20 seconds later when Sanches charged down the middle, giving a sublime pass to Nani, who found Ronaldo in the box (see pic). A tired Perisic failed to track back and the Real Madrid forward was left free. Danijel Subasic did well to keep out Ronaldo’s effort, but Quaresma was there at hand to head the ball into the net.