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Portugal progress as EURO' 96 Group D winners following Croatia success

Croatia 0-3 Portugal
Both sides progressed to the quarter-finals but Portugal did so as Group D winners.

Luís Figo of Portugal celebrates a goal against Croatia
Luís Figo of Portugal celebrates a goal against Croatia Icon Sport via Getty Images

Portugal cruised into the quarter-finals with a comfortable 3-0 win against already-qualified Croatia.

Miroslav Blaževic's team had won their first two fixtures to reach the last eight with room to spare and therefore fielded a much-changed side. Though that decision eased their opponents' task, Portugal more than played a part by applying some clever finishing to their intricate build-up play for the first time in the tournament. Luís Figo was first to find the target after just four minutes, with João Pinto adding a second on 33 minutes and Domingos completing the scoring late on.

EURO '96: All you need to know

Figo was in instrumental form from the off, neatly side-footing in Secretário's excellent right-wing cross to ease the early pressure on his side. The Barcelona winger was also involved in Portugal's second; Fernando Couto headed back his corner and Sá Pinto's attempted overhead kick fell to Pinto, who showed admirable composure to beat Marijan Mrmić from seven metres.

The best goals of EURO '96

Though the second-half arrival of the likes of Davor Šuker bolstered Croatia, they still conceded a lax third with eight minutes left when Domingos steered in a low shot following a defensive mix-up involving Dubravko Pavličić and Igor Štimac. Croatia had surrendered top spot in Group D and would now find themselves up against Germany in the last eight, with Portugal pitted against the Czech Republic.

EURO '96: Team of the Tournament


Portugal celebrate confirming their quarter-final place
Portugal celebrate confirming their quarter-final placeIcon Sport via Getty Images

Croatia: Mrmić; Jarni (c), Soldo, Bilić, Pavličić, Šimić; Jurčević, Prosinečki (Boban 46), Mladenović (Asanović 46); Vlaović, Pamić (Šuker 46)
Substitutes: Ladić, Štimac, Stanić, Brajković, Cvitanović
Coach: Miroslav Blažević

Portugal: Vítor Baía (c); Dimas, Hélder, Fernando Couto, Secretário; Luís Figo, Oceano, Rui Costa (Pedro Barbosa 61), Paulo Sousa (José Tavares 70); João Pinto, Sá Pinto (Domingos 46)
Substitutes: Vítor Paneira, Cadete, Alfredo, Porfírio, Folha, Paulo Madeira, Rui Correia
Coach: António Oliveira

Referee: Sándor Puhl (Hungary)

Man of the Match: João Pinto (Portugal)