Monday, June 17, 2024

Prediction: Portugal vs Croatia

Tom Dunstan in Free Soccer Predictions 5 Jun 2024

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Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 10/11

Bookmaker: Dachbet

Two camps who will be looking to make a pre-Euro 24 statement on Saturday evening, Portugal will welcome Croatia to Lisbon.

Portugal

Starting with the hosts, while Portugal might have been left frustrated out in Qatar 18 months ago as they had to settle for a World Cup Round of 16 finish, the Navigators have come roaring back in some style. Continuing to shine under the guidance of Roberto Martinez, the former European champions find the mood in their camp at a red-hot high. With some tipping them as a potential contender when they open their Euro 24 adventure later in the month, the ex-Belgium boss will be calling on his squad to make one final statement of intent here. Last seen earlier in the week picking up an action-packed 4-2 victory against Finland, Portugal embarked on a remarkable qualifying adventure last year. In fact, Martinez’s side won all of their 10 Group J appearances by an aggregate score of 36-2.

Team News

After not being included in Portugal’s squad for their midweek 4-2 victory against Finland, five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo should make a return here and spearhead Martinez’s charge in Lisbon. Continuing to receive a string of plaudits from across the continent, 20-year-old Antonio Silva should partner Manchester City ace Ruben Dias at the heart of Portugal’s defence.

Coming off the bench and bagging a brace against Finland on Tuesday night, Manchester City skipper Bruno Fernandes should feature from the start here. Likewise, notching 11 Ligue 1 strikes with PSG last season, Goncalo Ramos will be hoping to break into Martinez’s starting XI.

Croatia

As for the visitors, making real history out in Qatar 18 months ago as they secured a World Cup bronze medal finish, Croatia have continued to gain a fearsome reputation for their exploits on the major tournament stage. Picking up some perfect momentum earlier in the week as they stormed their way to a routine 3-0 romp against North Macedonia, Zlatko Dalic’s men have won all of their previous five appearances across all competitions on either side of opening the New Year. Booking an automatic spot at this summer’s European Championships, the Blazers have also found a recent clinical edge in the final third. Signing off March’s international break with an action-packed 4-2 win against Egypt, Croatia should be excited by a trip to Lisbon on Saturday evening.

Team News

Getting his hands on a maiden Premier League crown with Manchester City last season, former RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol should be handed a full recall on Saturday evening. Likewise, City teammate Mateo Kovacic will partner Dinamo Zagreb youngster Martin Baturina at the heart of Croatia’s midfield in Lisbon.

Notching 15 Bundesliga strikes with Hoffenheim last season, Andrej Kramaric will spearhead Dalic’s charge in the final third. Crowned Turkish champions with Galatasaray, Dominik Livakovic will start between the sticks and earn a 54th international cap here.

Key Factors to Consider

    • When Portugal and Croatia last met back in November 2020, the Navigators collected a 3-2 victory while in Nations League action.
    • Portugal win all of their 10 Euro 24 qualifying appearances by an aggregate score of 36-2.
    • Continuing on from last year, Croatia have won all of their previous five appearances across all competitions.
    • Portugal have won all of their previous six friendly internationals on home soil by an aggregate score of 27-2.
    • The last three meetings between Portugal and Croatia have finished with both teams finding the net.

    Conclusion

    Two camps who are looking to mount a genuine charge during this summer’s European Championships, we could be treated to an enjoyable affair on Saturday evening. While Portugal might have only continued to shine following on from their rampant qualifying adventure last year, Croatia have gained a fearsome reputation for their success among Europe’s elite. It should be noted, with each of the last three meetings between Saturday’s opponents finishing with both teams finding the net, we are expecting a similar outcome this weekend.

    Verdict: Both teams to score

    Best Odds: 10/11

    Bookmaker: Dachbet

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Tom Dunstan


    Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
    Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan

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