Preview – Portugal braced for series of finals, says Santos
LYON: Having pressed into the Euro 2016 knockout stages after three differentiating bunch stage draws, Portugal are prepared to climb a rigging when they confront Croatia in their mouth-watering last-16 conflict in Lens on Saturday, mentor Fernando Santos said.
While the Croatians frolicked into the competition’s business end with a 2-1 win over holders Spain, the Portuguese fought against eminent loss three times in Wednesday’s super 3-3 draw against Hungary at Parc OL.
Their talismanic forward Cristiano Ronaldo, quelled in the 1-1 tie with Iceland and a goalless stalemate against Austria, rediscovered his scoring touch with two fine second-half objectives which spared Portugal from an early exit.
Santos was certain that Ronaldo, who turned into the primary player to score in four European titles, would flourish as Portugal plan to win “a progression of finals” making a course for what might be their lady title.
“Ronaldo is a scorer and a champ, he plays in advance and encourages on objectives,” Santos said after the Real Madrid hitman was voted man of the match against the Hungarians.
“I am certain this execution will help his trust in our offer to win the opposition.
“Everything is distinctive now in light of the fact that each diversion that takes after resemble a last, there is no space for blunder. We need to prove to be the best in every one of them and go the distance.”
“We need to strike the right harmony amongst barrier and assault since when we approach we leave excessively numerous crevices at the back, as our gathering stage results appear.”
The Croatians, who fought against eminent loss to beat Spain with a temporary group, left their mentor Ante Cacic spoilt for decision after store striker Nikola Kalinic and a few other periphery players shone.
Kalinic appreciated an uncommon begin rather than the towering Mario Mandzukic and reimbursed the confidence with a brilliant equalizer before Ivan Perisic netted a late victor.
“We could have finished with less demanding restriction than Portugal in the last 16 yet in the event that we play as we did in the gathering stage, we have an awesome shot of advancing,” Kalinic told a news meeting at Croatia’s Deauville base.
“We are one of the best groups here and if our midfield wins the fight in the focal point of the pitch, we ought to win.”
“This is the present era’s shot of a lifetime and we may be recollected on the off chance that we accomplish something important here.”