EURO 2016, Round of 16: Croatia vs Portugal – Preview
Venue: Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens.
Date: Saturday, June 25
Croatia’s duel with Portugal promises to be one of the most thrilling contests of the tournament. Both teams are devastating going forward, which opens up the possibility of this game being an open affair.
Luka Modric is expected to return to Croatia’s side for the crucial game. There are no injury worries for Fernando Santos’ side.
Croatia ended Spain’s 14-match unbeaten run in their last group game. Portugal on the other hand drew 3-3 against Hungary, as Cristiano Ronaldo returned to form with a brace.
Also the Croats have rested for an extra day as compared to their opponents.
Ronaldo’s side has the upper hand in terms of head-to-head record against Croatia, winning all three of their previous encounters.
Along with Modric, Ivan Rakitic will play a key role in midfield against the Portuguese.
Pepe and the rest of the Portugal defense will have to be at their very best to thwart attacks from the hugely talented Croatia attack.
Despite qualifying for the round of 16, Portugal have not looked convincing at the tournament so far.
Expect them to face plenty of problems against Croatia.
Possible starting XIs
Portugal: Patricio, Guerreiro, Carvalho, Pepe, Vierinha, Moutinho, Gomes, Carvalho, Mario, Nani and Ronaldo
Croatia: Subasic, Stinic, Vida, Corluka, Srna, Badelj, Modric, Brozovic, Rakitic, Perisic, Mandzukic
Croatia 2-1 Portugal