Portugal vs Croatia: Preview and Prediction

Portugal will continue their preparations for the Euro 2024 with a friendly fixture against Croatia at Estadio Nacional.

Croatia have been winless against Portugal in their last seven outings, and they will look to take down the UEFA Euro 2016 winners when the two teams square up against each on other Saturday.

Roberto Martinez has done wonders for Portugal since taking charge as their manager post their disappointing 2022 World Cup campaign. He has led them into 13 official matches, winning 12 of those while overseeing one loss.

They were heading into this round of friendlies on the back of a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Slovenia in a friendly back in March. But, the Seleccao have managed to bounce back with a win against Finland (4-2) and will look to build on it against Croatia.

While Portugal have another friendly lined up after the game against Croatia, this is the final friendly game for the visitors before the start of the Euro. A win here will be a boost for them as they gear up to face Spain, Italy and Albania in Group B at the main event in Germany.

Zlatko Dalic’s team are heading into this fixture on the back of five consecutive wins. They registered an easy 3-0 win over North Macedonia on Monday and will be looking to build on it against Portugal. The Hard Tackle takes a close look at both teams and tries to predict the tactics they could put to use.

Team News & Tactics


Roberto Martinez does not really have any injury concerns to worry about. He will look to rotate his squad and ensure all his players are ready for the main event that starts in a week’s time.

Cristiano Ronaldo, who was not involved in their friendly against Finland, is expected to be back in the squad and should be starting this fixture. Diogo Costa, Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes, and Diogo Dalot are all expected to make a return to the XI.

Portugal will go ahead with the 4-3-3 formation against Croatia, with Diogo Costa in goal. Diogo Dalot and Joao Cancelo will be the full-backs, while Antonio Silva should continue in the heart of the defence alongside Ruben Dias.

Joao Palhinha will be the defensive midfielder, and he will have Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva in support. The trio will look to control the tempo and ensure they dominate the proceedings. Diogo Jota and Rafael Leao will feature on the flanks. They will provide the width to their attacks, with all-time international top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo leading the line.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Costa; Dalot, A Silva, Dias, Cancelo; Fernandes, Palhinha, Bernardo; Jota, Ronaldo, Leao

Portugal vs Croatia Predicted XI


Zlatko Dalic’s team are gearing up for the main event, and they do not have any injury concerns heading into this fixture. They are expected to start with their preferred XI, with Saturday’s match being their final opportunity to prepare for the Euro.

Josko Gvardiol, who was not involved in their last outing, is expected to walk back into the starting XI. Apart from the Manchester City defender, they are not expected to make any major changes with Luka Modric expected to play a part in the second half.

Croatia will go ahead with the 4-2-3-1 formation, where Dominik Livakovic will be in goal. Josip Juranovic and Borna Sosa will be the full-backs for the visitors, while Domagoj Vida will feature in the heart of the defence alongside Josko Gvardiol.

Martin Baturina and Mateo Kovacic will look to control the tempo of the game and ensure they shield the back line. Lovro Majer and Ivan Perisic will feature on the flanks. They will provide width and look to create chances for others around them. Finally Andrej Kramaric will be the attacking midfielder behind Bruno Petkovic, who will spearhead the attack for Croatia.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Livakovic; Juranovic, Vida, Gvardiol, Sosa; Baturina, Kovacic; Majer, Kramaric, Perisic; Petkovic

Portugal vs Croatia Predicted XI

Key Stats

  • Croatia are unbeaten in their last five games in all competitions.
  • The visitors have not defeated Portugal in any of their last seven outings.
  • Portugal have not lost an official game under Roberto Martinez with 12 wins and a draw.
  • In the last three fixtures between the two teams, neither has kept a clean sheet.
  • The last time they squared up against each other in the UEFA Nations League in 2020 and Portugal emerged victorious on both occasions.

Player to Watch

Cristiano Ronaldo

Embed from Getty Images

Despite being 39, Ronaldo is still going strong and scoring goals for fun. During the 2023/24 season with Al-Nassr, the Portuguese superstar scored 44 goals and even bagged 13 assists in his 45 outings. While he did miss their last friendly fixture, he will hope to get back on the scoresheet when he takes the field against Croatia.


Portugal 3-2 Croatia

Both teams are heading into this fixture on the back of a win, and they have some high-quality players in their ranks. While it will be an evenly contested match, Portugal might just come out on top in the end as they do seem to have a better bench strength than the visitors.

More importantly, they have a much better head-to-head record against Croatia and will look to add to it. The Hard Tackle predicts a hard-fought 3-2 win for the home team.

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