Pepe talks up Portugal's beautiful game after Croatia win

Portugal defender Pepe has surprised everyone at Euro 2016 with his description of his nation's 1-0 win over Croatia.

The Portuguese squeezed past Croatia in a dull affair that went into extra-time before Ricardo Quaresma got the winner.

But Pepe said: "It was a beautiful game. Now we need to be calm because we have not won anything yet."

Having failed to impress in the tournament so far Portugal now find themselves with an appealing route all the way to the final.

They will face Poland in the Stade Velodrome, Marseille, on June 30. The winners will then go on to face Wales, Belgium or Hungary in the semi-finals.

Portugal's victory over Croatia meant that two of Euro 2016's best midfielders were sent home.

Real Madrid's Modric and Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic will both now be watching the rest of the finals on television.

Pepe was the first to console his club team-mate after the final whistle. "I told him that he can leave France with his head held high," said the defender. "They have a superb team and played a great tournament."

Modric was in tears at the end of the game which appeared to be heading for penalties before Quaresma's goal on 117 minutes.

Rakitic said: "I cannot speak to much about the reaction in the dressing room but I will say that I have never seen so many tears after a game."

He was not happy with the manner of Portugal's win saying: "With all modesty I can say that the best team of the tournament has gone home. We have won the respect of all of Europe. They beat us without really doing anything."

Goalscorer Quaresma agreed his team had been lucky. He said: "We had the chance to win the game just at the right moment. Now we have to face another very good team in Poland."

Last update: Sun, 26/06/2016 - 13:59

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