Čačić: “Portugal Is Surely Afraid Of Croatia”

Croatia head coach Ante Čačić and Fiorentina midfielder Milan Badelj spoke to the press on the eve of the Portugal encounter in Lens.

Croatia will try to reach EURO 2016 quarterfinals stage in Lens on June 25. 2016 against Portugal. Head coach Ante Čačić respects the opponent, but believes in his team.

"There are no favourites or easy opponents at EURO 2016. There were a lot of tight matches, and Portugal dominated in all three group stage encounters, just coming short of winning them. They are a very good team, but we have shown an ambition to make a significant achievement here in France. Lens will see a clash of two good teams, and Portugal is surely afraid of Croatia and will change its style. Croatia must stay clear on its course, to find the space and time for what we do best. Simultaneously, we must limit Portugal's qualities, above all Cristiano Ronaldo. Croatia is euphoric, and has the right to be so. The optimism is necessary, and Croatia has shown quality, unity, determination, and stability", he said.

Milan Badelj, photo:

Midfielder Milan Badelj commented on the Croatia record against the Portuguese, who have won all three previous matches without conceding.

"I remember those matches, but this Croatia is strong enough to score and win. We have done an excellent job in the group stage, but this is a new beginning is we want to achieve something big. Croatia is proud to be among the best 16, and does not want to stop here. Our stars such as Modrić, Rakitić, and Perišić live to see this generation succeeding, and it shows on the pitch, helping the rest of us to play even better. We must try to repeat the success of the Croatia '98 generation. Portugal is not just Ronaldo, it is a group of quality individuals that can settle the score in one moment, and there is no need to further describe Ronaldo's qualities. If we do not perform at the maximum level, there will be trouble. We respect Portugal and think of nothing else", said Badelj.