Ricardo Quaresma became a hero in his native country Portugal after he snatched an extra-time win for the Portuguese national team. His goal cheered Beşiktaş fans as well as his fellow Portuguese citizens. Some social media users made a pun upon his name Quaresma with the word "charismatic" to arrive at "Quaresmatic." Substitute Ricardo Quaresma turned in a rebound three minutes from the end of extra time as Portugal edged a tense encounter with Croatia to book a Euro 2016 quarter-final date with Poland. Cristiano Ronaldo was denied reaching Michel Platini's record of nine goals in the European championship finals by a fine save from Danijel Subasic, and the ball fell to Quaresma to head into an empty net.
"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 because we believed until the end," said Quaresma. Portugal will face Poland in the quarter-finals in Marseille on Thursday, after the Polish team beat Switzerland 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw earlier on Saturday.
Ronaldo was quiet for most of a dull encounter and the first match in the history of the European Championship where neither team managed a shot on target during the regular 90 minutes. Croatian coach Ante Cacic was left to bemoan his side's inability to turn possession into goals. "We cannot say football is fair, we had many chances and we dominated for the whole match, so it was not a psychological problem. The best team doesn't always win and that happened tonight." Portugal was the only side to progress to the last 16 despite not winning any of their three group games, and coach Fernando Santos took an extremely cautious approach.
He did, however, name Ronaldo's team as favorites to reach the July 10 final in Paris. First, however, Portugal must beat Poland who reached the European Championship quarter-finals for the first time.
Meanwhile Portugal's other star who plays in Turkey celebrated his 100th cap. Nani's coach Fernando Santos was fulsome in his praise of the winger as he reached a career milestone. "It's always a beautiful number to reach," said Santos, who praised Nani for showing "great determination, a lot of commitment." Nani became only the second player on Portugal's current squad, and fourth overall, to reach the 100 mark. Ronaldo, the national record holder, earned his 130th cap against Croatia. Nani now at Fenerbahçe and reportedly the subject of interest from Inter Milan and Liverpool.