Our prediction for this Nations League match:
Estadio do Dragao will host UEFA Nations League derby between Portugal and Croatia. A Selecao were having their ups and downs in the Euro 2020 qualifiers, but thanks to back-to-back wins over Lithuania and Luxembourg they eventually booked their place at the showpiece tournament. Cristiano Ronaldo is not getting any older, and, no doubt, all eyes will be on the Juventus ace when Portugal take on Croatia on Saturday evening.
The Croats, on the other hand, will be without key midfielders Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic in their Nations League opener, which is probably the main reason why home win should be considered. Croatia rising star Nikola Vlasic, who has been producing excellent displays with CSKA Moscow of late, is pushing for a start for the visitors. Anyhow, Zlatko Dalic’s men are unlikely to spoil Portugal’s party in Porto as aforementioned star midfielders will be sorely missed.
Highlighted Player (Cristiano Ronaldo):
Cristiano Ronaldo is considered one of the world’s best football players. The Portuguese ace was born on 5 February, 1985 in Funchal, Madeira and he played for the likes of Andorinha, Nacional and Sporting during his youth career. CR7 made his Sporting debut in Primeira Liga on 7 October, 2002, scoring two goals in a 3-0 win over Moreirense.
Manchester United scouts spotted him and one year later he joined the Old Trafford outfit. Ronaldo became the most expensive teenager in the history of the Premier League and he received the number 7 shirt. He quickly established himself as the team’s key player and it has to be noted that he won three consecutive Premier League trophies with the Red Devils (2006/2007, 2007/2008, 2008/2009). In 2008 he helped the Old Trafford outfit beat Chelsea in the Champions League final, scoring for Alex Ferguson’s troops in the regular time.
Ronaldo joined Real Madrid in 2009 and he helped the Spanish giants with two Champions League trophies. In 2016 he won the European Championship trophy with Portugal. The Real Madrid ace has two Golden Ball awards (2013, 2014).
Highlighted Team (Croatia):
While the national football team of Croatia also played international matches between 1940 and 1944, they only resumed their duties in 1990 after the country gained independence from Yugoslavia. Vatreni enjoyed a remarkable start on the international stage, winning the third place on their first ever World Cup appearance in France in 1998, while crashing out in the group stage at the 2002, 2006 and 2014 tournaments.
Croatia also reached the quarter-finals at the 1996 and 2008 European Championships, proving they are rightly considered one of Europe’s top sides at the start of the 21st century. Long-serving captain Darijo Srna is their most capped player with over 130 appearances for the national team, whereas former Real Madrid striker Davor Suker is one of their most famous players and top scorer with 45 goals.
Other notable footballers to have played for Croatia include Luka Modric, Zvonimir Boban, Robert Prosinecki, Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic. Miroslav Blazevic and Slaven Bilic are the coaches that have been behind team’s biggest success stories up to date.