Fernando Santos hails 'pragmatic' Portugal for seeing off Croatia
Portugal coach Fernando Santos said his team doesn't have to "play pretty" to win Euro 2016 after escaping from Croatia with a late goal in extra-time on Monday.
Ricardo Quaresma nodded home the game's only goal in the 117th minute after Danijel Subasic could only deflect Cristiano Ronaldo's shot into his path, as Portugal moved on to set up a quarterfinal clash against Poland.
Those two efforts were the only shots on target in the entire game, and Santos said Croatia forced Portugal to be "pragmatic" when going forward.
"It was a very tactical match. Portugal tried to take over but Croatia didn't let us; then again, Croatia tried to take over and we didn't let them win either," he said.
"We were up against an amazing team and this was always going to be tight and strong. We were ready for them and we set up to resist their strengths and take advantage of their weak spots.
"We didn't allow them to counter-attack but going forwards we do have room for improvement. At times we could have passed the ball faster but Croatia influenced that.
"Sometimes you have to be pragmatic. It'd be nice to play pretty but that's not always how you win tournaments."
Quaresma had entered the game for Joao Mario in the 87th minute, and despite his goal the veteran playmaker said Portugal's defending was the key to their victory.
"We worked hard, we knew the difficulties we were going to encounter, the stress, the anxiety that comes with the game, but I think we should congratulate ourselves," he said.
"We had a great game, we believed until the end and we should congratulate ourselves for our dedication.