Euro 2016: Diego Maradona feels Portugal are too dependent on Cristiano Ronaldo
Diego Maradona, the Argentine legend has said that the Portugese team are too dependent on Cristiano Ronaldo, which is why the Croatians are his favourites to win the knockout stage encounter.
Portugal had an extremely underwhelming group stage and have the lenient 24-team format of the European Championships to thank for the fact that they were able to progress with three draws from their three group stage matches. Croatia, on the other hand have been one of the standout teams of Euro 2016, their win against a strong Spain side having especially sent shockwaves throughout the tournament.
Croatia will face off against Portugal for a place in the quarterfinals at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis on Sunday night in what should be an immensely exciting encounter.
Diego Maradona is clearly backing the Croatians to progress. "Portugal are too dependent on Ronaldo," Maradona said in a column for the Times of India. "He was brilliant against Hungary, but they are half the force if he doesn't click and the tactically astute Croats will ensure he is low on supply.
"He may have to move around for space and chances of Portugal's success hinge on how well he does that.
"They also have to plug holes in midfield and defence, because these are areas where mistakes may lead to elimination. Croatia start favourites."
Maradona is clearly impressed by the Croatians as he went on to say,
"The Croats are a feisty lot as they showed against Spain. They drew after going 2-0 up in the previous game and conceded early against the defending champs. It could have broken them. But the way Croatia came back to win without stars Modric and Mandzukic was a testament of steel, resolve and ability,”
The now 55-year-old Argentine maestro went on to add, "The Croats are tactically sound like most European teams, who give nothing away in defence. The specialty of this bunch seems to be the ability to launch counterattacks at great pace with few touches.”
It’s clear that Portugal will have to be at their best to tackle what clearly appears to be a much more cohesive unit in the Croatians, but with the talent on their roster they certainly have the chance to surprise.