After a near first round exit and kicking off the last 16 meeting with Croatia in what some people are saying was the worst game in the history of a major tournament. All that can be said about the 2 shots on target between both Portugal and Croatia is that Perisic’s haircut was the most exciting part of the game.
Now that the first hurdle is over with there is now a real chance Portugal could muddle their way through to the Euro 2016 final.
A kind draw has left Portugal with an eminently winnable quarter-final against Poland which would be followed by a semi-final against Wales or Belgium.
Portugal have already maintained their record of reaching the quarter-finals on all 10 occasions they have taken part at European championships.
Even so, they have been one of the most enigmatic teams at this tournament and their performances so far would not lead them to be considered potential finalists.
Portugal have some of the tournament’s most gifted players, including Cristiano Ronaldo, and an attacking philosophy yet all four of their games have been drawn after 90 minutes, two of them goalless.
They are habitually labelled as underachievers despite having reached a European championship final, semi-final and World Cup semi-final in the last 12 years, a remarkably good record for a country with just over 10 million people.
Against Croatia on Saturday, they played for nearly two hours without managing a shot on goal in a dire match before Ricardo Quaresma, himself a player who blows hot and cold, headed in a dramatic winner.
When Santos recently suggested that he would return to Portugal on the day after the final and be welcomed with a party, his comments were greeted with incredulity.
Suddenly that looks like a distinct possibility and Portugal could do it even without playing to their full potential or endearing themselves to the neutrals.
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