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September 25, 2018

We’re about to see a different Portugal going forward as Ronaldo gathers pace

Cristiano Ronaldo with trademark celebration after doubling Portugal's lead with a 40th minute header.Photo/Courtesy
Cristiano Ronaldo with trademark celebration after doubling Portugal's lead with a 40th minute header.Photo/Courtesy

Croatia Vs Portugal, Saturday 10pm.

My Prediction: Croatia.. 1 Portugal...3

There is something fundamentally wrong when you qualify for the knock out stages in such a major tournament having not won a single game. Well that’s where Portugal find themselves having drawn all their group matches and qualified as one the best placed third teams. Croatia on the other hand have impressive wins over Spain and Turkey behind them and are looking good. But we all saw Cristiano Ronaldo burst to light in their final group game against Hungary and something tells me that we’re about to see a completely different Portugal going forward. Croatia are lucky to still be in France given how their fans have behaved and something tells me Ante Cacic’s men won’t be able to concentrate any more.

 

 

France Vs Ireland, Sunday 4pm,

My Prediction: Les Bleues...2 Ireland...0

France started the tournament on a high with fascinating goals from Olivier Giroud and Dimitri Payet. They weren’t convincing in their performance but Payet was on target again against Albania. It was no surprise that their third group game ended in a goal-less draw against Switzerland because most managers who had qualified before their final group game; didn’t work hard in their last group match. Didier Deschamps was no exception resting key players for this match. The Republic of Ireland has had a rather mixed tournament. After a draw with Sweden and a loss to Belgium; they were somewhat beneficiaries of Italy’s early qualification. Antonio Conte rested his big guns for the final game allowing Ireland to go through as one of the best third placed teams. But it’s the end of the road for the Irish here as I believe France will be more serious now. With the 12th man on their side, they might as well celebrate quarter final qualification.

 

 

Italy Vs Spain, Monday 7pm,

My Prediction: Italy...2 Spain...1

This is a game that’s being billed as the final before even the quarter finals. Two former world champions; two football power-houses and 22 plus superstars! This is going to be tough and this is why Spain should have topped their group to avoid such a match up this early. But hey! This is football and this is why we love this game! Vicente del Bosque Vs Antonio Conte; Iniesta, Fabregas, Pique Vs De Rossi, Pelle, Buffon; this is such a delicious thought full of experience on both sides and so hard to predict! My prediction on this one is purely a gut feeling.

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