Croatia vs Portugal â€“ one of the marquee matchups of the first round of the Euro 2016 knockouts â€“ will be on view in Lens as Luka Modric and co. battle it out with Cristiano Ronaldo's band of finally-found-their-scoring-boots men. Both teams will know that a win on Saturday, and they will immediately be fancied to reach the final of the competition, making this contest all the more important.
Both Portugal and Croatia will take heart from the fact that they have landed up on the easier side of the draw. With the likes of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and England all in the other half, the winner of this match will immediately be installed as favourites to reach the final on July 10.
With that comes pressure, and the key for Portugal will be to keep hitting the back of the net, while doing better at the back. Against Hungary, they had to come from a goal down on three occasions, and while they managed to do that, Croatia will not be so kind, even with the brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani, who has scored in two of Portugal's three matches.
However, Portugal will also be happy with the fact that their captain Ronaldo has finally scored in these European Championships. After huffing and puffing and doing everything but score, all the focus was being turned on Ronaldo's tantrums at failing to drive his team to victories, and while the Hungary match also ended up being a draw, the fact that the Real Madrid man scored, not just once, but twice, is a really encouraging sign as far as Portugal are concerned.
"Cristiano was brilliant last time out," Portugal manager Fernando Santos told UEFA's official website. "He scored twice, he's a great player and scored one of the best goals at the UEFA Euro 2016 last time out. We're always a team that Ronaldo forms part of it. Individual talent can win a game, teams win tournaments."
But that is something Portugal still haven't quite proved â€“ that they are not just a one-man team. As decent as Nani has been in this tournament, everything that Portugal do in the attacking third seems to involve Ronaldo, and if he has an off day, so do Portugal. That needs to change, particularly against such formidable opposition as Croatia.
Croatia will bank on the brilliance of their midfield, led by Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, while the goals need to flow from Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic. Croatia will also take a lot of confidence from their win over the defending champions Spain, accomplished despite quite a few of their main players, including Modric, being rested.
"This is a make-or-break kind of match," Croatia manager Ante Cacic said. "We are moving into the knockout rounds now and this match will only send one of two excellent teams into the next stage of the competition.
"We are facing a team consisting of extremely talented individuals. They perhaps weren't exceptionally impressive in their group in terms of points won, but they really played well. If we look back, we will remember that they were the dominant team in their matches and created many opportunities."
No doubt, most of those opportunities will fall to Ronaldo; what he does with them will decide the outcome of this Euro 2016 pre-quarterfinal.
Where to Watch Live
Croatia vs Portugal -- the round of 16 Euro 2016 match -- is set to begin at 9 p.m. local time (12.30 a.m. IST, 8 p.m. BST, 3 p.m. ET). All the live streaming and TV information is right below.
UK: TV: ITV1. Live Streaming: ITV Hub.
Croatia: TV: HRT 2.
Portugal: TV: Sport TV1.
France: TV: Bein Sports. Live Streaming: Bein Sports Connect.
Singapore: TV: Eleven Singapore and Singtel. Live Streaming: Singtel Go.
Middle East and North Africa: TV: Bein Sports Max. Live Streaming: Bein SportsConnect.
South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa: TV: SuperSport 3. Live Streaming: SuperSport
USA: TV: ESPN 2 and ESPN 3. Live Streaming: Watch ESPN.
Canada: TV: TSN and RDS. Live Streaming: TSN TV.
New Zealand: TV: Sky Sport. Live Streaming: Sky Go NZ.
Australia: TV: Bein Sports. Live Streaming: Bein Sports Connect.
Germany: TV: ZDF and ORF.
China and Hong Kong: TV: CCTV and LeTV.
Thailand: TV: Channel 3.
Malaysia: TV: Astro.
Latin America: TV: DirecTV.