Croatia (+150) vs Portugal (+210), Draw (+200)
One of the best Round of 16 matchups at Euro 2016 will see one of the best teams from the group stage, Croatia (2-0-1), take on Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal (0-0-3) this Saturday at the Stade Felix-Bollaert in Lens (3:00 PM Eastern).
Except for 20 minutes during their 2-2 draw with the Czech Republic, Croatia were arguably the most impressive team throughout the round robin. They finished with with seven points after beating Turkey (1-0) and upsetting Spain (2-1).
The Croatians are playing well on both sides of the ball and are solid on every line. Fullback Ivan Perisic has emerged as a difference-maker. He’s scored two of the team’s five goals, and stepped up his game when star midfielder Luka Modric couldn’t go against Spain.
Modric suffered a groin injury against the Czech Republic but he should be fit to face his Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal.
Portugal just barely advanced to the knockout phase after posting three draws in the group stage against Iceland (1-1), Austria (0-0), and Hungary (3-3). They trailed Hungary three times, but Ronaldo scored twice to keep his team alive.
When the groups were released, it was widely acknowledged that Portugal received one of the most favorable draws. None of their group mates are title threats, and Ronaldo and company were expected to roll to a first-place finish. Instead, they finished third in the group, setting up a tough road in the knockout phase.
Despite their poor performance to date, Portugal remains a dangerous team, and they have history on their side against Croatia, winning all three matchups to date. That said, I’ll take the team that’s on form.
Pick: Croatia (+150).
(Photo Credit: Football.ua [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)].)