All eyes remain on Ronaldo as Portugal meet Croatia

Lens, France (dpa) - Cristiano Ronaldo is being backed by his Portugal team-mates to fire them into the Euro 2016 quarter-finals on Saturday but opponents Croatia are confident they can see off his threat.

"Everyone knows Cristiano and what he can do at any time, in any minute in a game," his strike-partner Nani told a news conference Friday. "I am 100 per cent sure he will go on and score more goals now."

Ronaldo failed to score in Portugal's opening Group F games against Iceland and Austria, when he missed a penalty, but burst into life with two goals and an assist against Hungary.

That ensured Portugal crept into the last 16 as one of the best third-placed teams but they have been dealt a tough draw against Croatia - who topped Group D having beaten reigning champions Spain.

"Any team we play, we must believe we can win so it doesn't matter who we will face now," Nani said.

"It will be difficult against Croatia. They have one day more than us to rest but we are professional, so we will get a quick rest and prepare for the game."

Croatia eased into the knock-out stages with minimal fuss but have concerns over striker Mario Mandzukic and midfielder Luka Modric.

"I can't say if they will make it through the whole game but it is looking good," coach Ante Cacic said. Cacic will make a final decision on whether they start just before the game.

If they miss out, midfielder Ivan Rakitic will be expected to step up and out-gun Ronaldo in a battle of the stars - as he did with his club in the Spanish League last season.

“I was ahead of Ronaldo’s Real Madrid all season with Barcelona,” Rakitic said. “I expect it to be the same in the European Championship.”

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 22:57

More from Sport

Sevilla beat Real Madrid to end their 40-game unbeaten run

Sevilla ended Real Madrid’s 40-game unbeaten run on Sunday in Spain’s top division with a 2-1 victory.

Barcelona president reassures supporters over Messi's future

 Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu reassured supporters on Saturday that the club would renew Leo Messi’s...

Record champion Peterhansel clinches Dakar rally win

Record winner Stephane Peterhansel secured his 13th Dakar Rally victory when he held off fellow Peugeot driver...

Croatia's Kostelic says goodbye to World Cup races in Wengen

Swiss Niels Hintermann on Friday won a World Cup Wengen men's super combined, while the best Croatian Alpine skier,...

Benzema strike helps Madrid set unbeaten record in cup thriller

Karim Benzema's stoppage time strike helped Real Madrid set a new Spanish record of 40 games unbeaten on Thursday,...