Croatia meets Portugal on Saturday to begin its Nations League campaign as the two teams look to open A3 with a victory. Cristiano Ronaldo is one goal shy of recording 100 for Portugal, but his status is in question.
How to Watch:
Time: 2:45 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ESPN and TUDN USA
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Portugal enters Saturday’s match unbeaten against Croatia in five meetings. The sides, however, drew 1-1 most recently in a June 2019 friendly. Ivan Perisic’s goal in that match was Croatia’s first ever against Portugal, while defensively the Croats have conceded eight goals in the five aforementioned contests.
“Our opponents can’t be harder,” Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić said. “Our opponents can’t be harder; in space of three days, we will play away against the European champions and then the world champions. We respect Portugal and France, but we have a lot of trump cards and we will certainly try to break the negative run we have against both teams.”
Croatia enters the contest without captain Luka Modric and Sevilla’s Ivan Rakitic. Marin Pongracic will also miss the match with illness.
Portugal beat the Netherlands to win the inaugural Nations League in 2019. However, Ronaldo’s foot infection looms large as the team looks to claim the crown yet again. He worked out with the club earlier this week, but exhibited pain on Wednesday. Renato Sanchez will also miss the match for Portugal with an injury.
“Despite these late problems, like empty stadiums, less time to rest between seasons and many games in a short period of time, we have to find ways to stay motivated,” Portugal coach Fernando Santos said. “We will play with the same joy and commitment we have shown. We are not the favorites, but we are among the candidates to win the trophy.”