The elimination matches of the Euros are beginning from today and taking ground in the evening will be the two teams which have reached the second round in unexpected manners.
Talking about Portugal, they probably had one of the less tricky groups in the tournament, if not the least tricky and thus, top 2 was a definite possibility,
Iceland and Austria were considered to be the easy preys and Hungary should not have been much of a challenge either.
But, they are coming to the knockouts without having had a taste of victory as every team managed to hold their striking prowess.
In fact, they must be thankful that they are even in the knockouts. It’s only on goal differential that they came third in the list of the teams which achieved the third rankings in various groups.
The journey could have been over if they had been left behind to 5th or 6th in that list.
The mastery of Cristiano, which made the 3-3 result possible from nowhere on Wednesday, would not do it every time, not against a well-organized Croatia if the other 10 remain as patchy as they have been.
Regarding Croatia, they were tipped to advance anyway, but, to advance as group toppers and that too from a group which had the reigning champions Spain; it must be said that they have punched above their weight.
However, it is of little importance how many wins or how many points you come to the knockouts with. What matters is what you do here.
One would rather want to be wearing a Croatia jersey and not the Portugal one on late form, but, the history of the matches between these two teams gives the upper hand to the Portuguese.