Croatia may have been dark horses at the start of the tournament but that certainly isn’t the case now that they have managed to come out of Group D as winners while beating 2008 and 2012 winners Spain along the way. They now go up against the other nation from the Iberian Peninsula Portugal in Saturday night’s Round of 16 encounter
The football at times from Croatia has been wonderful to watch but there is still the dark cloud of their own fans causing mischief which is hovering angrily over their heads. They may have got through the game against Spain unscathed but is this going to be a ticking time bomb just waiting to go off
One would really hope not as Croatia don’t deserve to get kicked off the tournament due to fan misdemeanours especially with all the talent that they have had on display so far. Tonight’s tie will see two Real Madrid teammates in Luka Modric and Cristiano Ronaldo go up against each other, who will get the upper hand?
Whoever does then you would have to think that at least a Semi Final place awaits them due to such a favourable top half of the draw bracket. A route to the final has got a lot clearer of all a sudden especially for a Portugal side who came through the group stage without managing to record a win
After registering two blanks he has finally woken up, his brace against Hungary in the third game secured a draw in what was definitely the game of the tournament so far. That draw meant it was all set for Portugal to face England on Monday but then a dramatic late goal for Iceland means it is now they who play Roy Hodgson’s side on Monday
Cristiano Ronaldo’s first goal on Tuesday night also means that is the first man to score in 4 successive European Championships, so another record to add to his already huge list. But for all his personal records winning a major international tournament still eludes him will 2016 finally be the year
If it is they have to get past a Croatia side who came from behind to beat Spain. They may have been slightly fortunate after Sergio Ramos saw his spot kick saved but they looking a very useful outfit. The two Ivan’s, Rakitic and Perisic have been a constant threat in those first three games although Mario Mandzukic is still to get off the mark
Who will win this one, in the Red corner you have Cristiano Ronaldo supported by Nani who is having arguably the better tournament while in the checked corner you have Luka Modric and any number of creative players who will cause Portugal a headache. I’m going to go for Croatia as I feel they have a more balanced side and not an over reliance on the one superstar,
Let’s just hope Vedran Corluka doesn’t lose any more blood during this tournament or he will have to be hooked up to a drip. I’ll put my money on Croatia to move into the Quarter Finals while Cristiano and co are sent packing.