The first day of the round-of-16 knockout stage at the Euro 2016 tournament in France concludes on Saturday, June 25th with a game between Croatia and Portugal in Lens. The winning nation will carry on to the quarterfinals while the loser will be packing their bags and heading home. If the game is even after 90 minutes it will go to 30 minutes of extra time. If it’s still tied, it will then be decided by a penalty shootout. Both Croatia and Wales are seeking their first European Championship title.
Croatia vs Portugal – 5Dimes Soccer Betting Line:
- 5Dimes currently lists Croatia as the favorite to win in 90 minutes at +172 with Portugal +210 and a draw at +205
Croatia vs Portugal – Head to Head:
- Croatia and Portugal last met in a friendly in June of 2013 with Portugal winning 1-0 on the road. The two sides have met just three times in the past with Portugal winning all three and outscoring Croatia 6-0 in those games.
Croatia – A Closer Look:
Croatia is currently ranked number 27 in the world by FIFA along with Poland. The team competed in Group D in the group stage and managed to advance to the knockout round by placing first ahead of Spain, Turkey and the Czech Republic. Croatia took the group with seven points from two wins and a draw while scoring five goals and allowing three against. Croatia opened their tournament with a 1-0 win over 18th-ranked Turkey. They then took on the 30th-ranked Czech Republic and blew a late 2-0 lead before settling for a 2-2 draw.
Croatia was cruising along with 15 minutes to go before allowing their opponents back in the game. The match was then held up in the 85th minute due to Croatian crowd trouble. The Czechs then completed their comeback with a last-minute penalty kick. Sixth-ranked Spain took an early lead against Croatia in their final group encounter, but Croatia tied it at halftime and then scored the winner late in the match after saving a Spanish penalty kick. Perisic has scored two of Croatia’s five goals.
Portugal – A Closer Look:
Portugal is currently ranked number eight in the world by FIFA. They played in Group F in the first stage of the event in one of the weaker groups with 34th-ranked Iceland, 10th-ranked Austria and 20th-ranked Hungary. Portugal advanced to the next round as one of the four best third-place teams with three points from three draws. They scored four goals and allowed four against. Portugal opened their tournament with a 1-1 tie against Iceland. They then drew Austria 0-0 before drawing 3-3 with Hungary in their final match. Captain Cristiano Ronaldo struggled in the first two matches and hit the post on a penalty kick against Austria, but helped his team advance with a pair of goals against Hungary.
Croatia vs Portugal – Takeaway
The winner of this match will take on the winner of the Switzerland vs Poland clash which is being held the same day. The winners will meet on Thursday, June 30th in Marseille.
By Ian Palmer