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Preview: Croatia v Portugal

Croatia are set to welcome back Luka Modrić and Mario Mandžukić against Portugal after overcoming Spain, but they will need to beware a reinvigorated Cristiano Ronaldo.

Cristiano Ronaldo in training
Cristiano Ronaldo in training ©AFP/Getty Images
  • Ante Čačić's Croatia inflicted Spain's first defeat in 15 EURO finals games to win Group D
  • Portugal drew all three of their Group F fixtures
  • Nani, who scored twice in the group stage, is set to win his 100th cap for Portugal
  • Cristiano Ronaldo needs one goal to level Michel Platini as all-time leading EURO scorer
  • Luka Modrić and Mario Mandžukić set to return after missing Spain game
  • Winners play Switzerland or Poland, who face off in Saturday's first last-t6 game

Possible line-ups
Croatia: Subašić; Srna, Ćorluka, Vida, Strinić; Modrić, Badelj; Brozović, Rakitić, Perišić; Mandžukić.
Will miss quarter-final with booking: Badelj, Brozović, Perišić, Rog, Srna, Strinić, Vida, Vrsaljko

Portugal: Rui Patrício; Vieirinha, Carvalho, Pepe, Guerreiro; William Carvalho, João Moutinho, André Gomes, João Mário; Nani, Ronaldo.
Will miss quarter-final with booking: Pepe, Quaresma

Coach quotes
Ante Čačić, Croatia coach
This is a make-or-break kind of match. We are moving into the knockout rounds now and this match will only send one of two excellent teams into the next stage of the competition. The other team will unfortunately be sent home.

We are facing a team consisting of extremely talented individuals. They perhaps weren't exceptionally impressive in their group in terms of points won, but they really played well. If we look back, we will remember that they were the dominant team in their matches and created many opportunities.

When a team plays the way we've been playing, a knock-on effect is that the coach gets his share of praise as well. Coaches always influence results, both good and bad. Unfortunately, that is more visible with bad results than good ones. I accept the praise I've been getting.

I am not content, though, just like the team is not content. We want to keep going for as long as possible at this tournament. After a long time, we finally have this atmosphere of togetherness in Croatia. Everyone is watching our matches on TV, everyone is rooting for us.

Highlights: Portugal v Croatia 20 years on

Fernando Santos, Portugal coach
Stats mean nothing. There are two very strong sides. I have as my objective to try and win this game. Croatia have immense quality, just like we do. It will be a game with two sides full of great quality and sides who want to go through. It will be a great game, I'm sure. I think we can beat Croatia.

It will be a totally different game to the ones we've had. Austria did things well against Portugal, and a lot of people thought we'd beat Iceland but it didn't happen. We are prepared to play a completely different game.

Croatia have had a little bit more rest time. Obviously we'd have liked more time and I'm sure Croatia would've too. But right now we're here and there's no point crying over spilled milk.

UEFA.com team reporters
Elvir Islamović, Croatia (@UEFAcomElvirI)
Čačić has been one of the smartest coaches on show in France. He made five changes for the Spain game, saving Mario Mandžukić and Luka Modrić from further injuries and giving a number of youngsters a chance. Croatia are at full strength and will hope to maintain the momentum that Spain triumph has given them. They have plenty of reason to be optimistic.

Joe Walker, Portugal (@UEFAcomJoeW)
Portugal have taken the hard route to the round of 16, finishing as one of the best third-placed sides, yet have managed to end up on the 'kinder' side of the draw. They know a win against Croatia would see them installed as one of the favourites to reach the final and with Cristiano Ronaldo having found his shooting boots and in search of yet another EURO goalscoring record, they will fancy their chances. Fernando Santos will have to shore up his defence if they are to stand any chance.

Form guide (all competitions, most recent first)

Did you know?
Portugal have won all three previous matches against Croatia without conceding, most notably triumphing 3-0 in their first encounter, in the group stage of EURO '96. That took Portugal through along with Croatia, who had already qualified for the quarter-finals and rested several players. Read more in our extensive match background.

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