UEFA Euro 2016 Knockout Stage Preview – Croatia vs Portugal

Croatia vs Portugal, Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens


Match Log

Croatia

Turkey 0, Croatia 1 (Modric 41)
Czech Republic 2 (Skoda 76, Necid 89 pen), Croatia 2 (Perisic 37, Rakitic 59)
Croatia 2 (N Kalinic 45, Perisic 87), Spain 1 (Morata 7)

Portugal

Portugal 1 (Nani 31), Iceland 1 (B Bjarnason 50)
Portugal 0, Austria 0
Hungary 3 (Gera 19, Dzsudzsak 47, 55), Portugal 3 (Nani 42, Ronaldo 50, 62)

Team News

Croatia

Injury clouds still hang over key players in Luka Modric and Marco Mandzukic, and Marko Rog and Nikola Kalinic are waiting in the wings to replace them. Ante Cacic rested Marcelo Brozovic, Ivan Strinic and Domagoj Vida for the game against Spain, and they should return to replace Marko Pjaca, Sime Vrsaljko and Tin Jedvaj.
Likely team (4-2-3-1): Subasic – Srna, Corluka, Vida, Strinic; Modric, Badelj; Brozovic, Rakitic, Perisic; Mandzukic.

Portugal

The Portuguese have tried various midfield combinations throughout this tournament, and it is not particularly easy to tell who they will select against the Croatians. Andre Gomes and Raphael Guerreiro are the only injury concerns, with the latter having missed the game against Hungary with a thigh complaint.
Likely team (4-4-2): Rui Patricio – Vierinha, Pepe, R Carvalho, Raphael Guerreiro; Andre Gomes, William Carvalho, Joao Moutinho, Joao Mario; Nani, Ronaldo.

Keys to success

Croatia

Ivan Perisic has been one of the form players throughout the tournament, and Croatia will be relying on him to perform again. If Modric is unavailable then Ivan Rakitic will need to play well at the heart of midfield, where he is a top quality player and can put in an excellent performance. Portugal may be struggling, but they have had more shots than any other side at this tournament and the Croatian defence will need to be ready to deal with the challenge.

Portugal

Cristiano Ronaldo has not been at his best throughout this tournament, but he scored twice against the Hungarians in Portugal’s final group match and will look to find that form again when he takes the field against Croatia. The Portuguese have created plenty of chances throughout the tournament, and they will be looking to take control and apply plenty of pressure to the Croatian defence. The defence will need to play better than they did in the group stage, as Croatia represent a significant step-up in quality.

Prediction

This match-up looks set to be one of the best of the round of 16, with a strong, confident Croatian side going up a Portuguese team with plenty of quality. Ronaldo has the potential to win the game for Portugal on his own, but it is Croatia who have the stronger side and should progress to the quarter-finals. Croatia 2-1.

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