Our match prediction:
There will be fireworks when Croatia and Portugal take on each other at Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens in what is expected to be the most interesting clash in the round of 16. The Croats did well to beat title holders Spain in their final group game and you should bear in mind that they were without key players Luka Modric and Mario Mandzukic in the 2-1 victory over La Roja. The duo is likely to return to the starting line-up and considering that the Vatreni have been impressive in front of goal at the tournament in France, we predict that Ante Cacic’s troops will find the net in Saturday’s football match. Portugal have yet to record a win at the Euro 2016 finals, but Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored a brace in the 3-3 draw with Hungary, is likely to prove a handful for the opposition back line.
Highligted Player (Modric):
Luka Modric is regarded as one of the best central midfielders in world football. The Croatian ace is a product of Dinamo Zagreb’s youth school and it has to be noted that he played 94 league games for the Modri between 2003 and 2008. In 2008 he signed a six-year deal with Tottenham Hotspur for a fee of £16.5 million. Luka made his Tottenham debut on 16 August, 2008 in a 2-1 loss to Middlesbrough at Riverside Stadium. The Croatian star scored only 13 goals in 127 league appearances for the Spurs, but he is well known for his brilliant passing. In 2012 he signed for Real Madrid for a fee of £30 million and he made his debut against Barcelona in the 2012 Spanish Super Cup, return leg. Modric quickly established himself as a first-team regular and, no doubt, he helped the capital club win two Champions League trophies (2013/2014, 2015/2016). You should bear in mind that he was named Croatian Footballer of the Year in 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2014.
Highlighted Team (Portugal):
Portugal started competing at the biggest stage in the 1930’s, but they had to wait for almost seventy years to establish themselves as a top side. The third place finish at the 1966 World Cup was a one-off result as the Selecao needed another 40 years to get past the group stage, reaching the semi-finals at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Portugal enjoyed more success on the continent, finishing third at the 1984, 2000 and 2012 European Championships, while losing in the final to Greece at the Euro 2004 that was held on home soil. Despite being able to count on one of world’s best ever footballers Cristiano Ronaldo, the Selecao have yet to lift a major trophy and they will not have too many opportunities to do so before the Real Madrid superstar retires. Eusebio remains the most famous footballer to have played for Portugal, while Luis Figo, Simao Sabrosa, Pedro Pauleta, Rui Costa and Nani are also worth mention. The Selecao currently boast an impressive pool of world-class talent and it should not be long before they end the trophy drought.