Croatia have ended Spain’s 14 game unbeaten spell at the European championship, and ending up on top of Group D, and set up a mouth-watering last 16 clash with Ronaldo led Portugal.
In the previous clash on Tuesday with the reigning European champions Ante Cacic’s men started as underdogs, however that tag has swiftly changed going into tonight’s game as favourites to win against a Portugal team who managed to progress to the last 16 despite not winning a single game in the group stages.
Real Madrid maestro Luca Modric could return to action after missing in the win against La Roja due to a groin injury. Modric is having a great tournament so far after scoring an insane stunning goal (contender for goal of the tournament award) in a win over Turkey.
Coach Ante Cacic is faced with a major headache whether to recall striker Mario Mandzukic or again select Nikola Kalinic, who scored against the Spanish. Croatia has an impeccable international record having not lost a match in their 10 outing ( 8 Wins & 2 draws). The Croats have not won a knock out stage match since the 1998 World Cup, where they finished third.
Portugal has won all three previous encounters with Croatia, scoring a total of six goals and none scored against them. This promises to be a thrilling game wherein history is at stake
The Portuguese over reliance on Ronaldo has proved too much for him to handle throughout the tournament, after failing to get the back for the net. Ronaldo led side made into the football history books by being the first team to reach the last 16 of the European championships by drawing all their games.
Coach Fernando Santos has a full team available to pick, and once again the hopes of every Portuguese fan around the world will be bestowed on the shoulders of Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, a boy from San Antonio to deliver them to the Promised Land.
Winner (Croatia/Portugal) to play winner (Switzerland/Poland) on Thursday 30th June in Marseille.
Verdict: Croatia to win