FC Daily: Ronaldo, Portugal under pressure; Mexico-Chile meet in Copa
It's Saturday, June 18, and Euro 2016 and the Copa America quarterfinals roll on. FC Daily has all you need to know to follow today's action.
Matches of the day
- Belgium vs. Republic of Ireland (3 p.m. CEST/9 a.m. ET on ESPN): Italy beat Sweden on Friday, giving added significance to this opening match at Euro 2016 on Saturday. A win for either Belgium, who lost their opener to the Azzurri, or Ireland, who were "Zlataned" in their first match against Sweden, would boost them right back into the Group E race, with Antonio Conte's side already guaranteed passage to the round of 16.
- Iceland vs. Hungary (6 p.m. CEST/noon ET on ESPN): Two of the most pleasant opening-match surprises square off at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille. Iceland, the smallest nation in the tournament, held on for a 1-1 draw against Portugal, leading Cristiano Ronaldo to his sour-grapes comments about his opponents' celebration after scoring. They'll face a Hungary team that pulled off perhaps the first shock result in France by beating Austria 2-0 in their opener. Neutrals will find plenty to love about the two sides in this matchup, with both teams featuring cult heroes of sorts in their starting XIs.
- Portugal vs. Austria (9 p.m. CEST/3 p.m. ET on ESPN): Austria will be desperate to get back on track after the aforementioned loss to Hungary, while Ronaldo and Co. will likely be looking for three points as well in the second Group F match of the day. Raf Honigstein explains the task at hand for Marcel Koller and the Austrians to get their Euro campaign back on track, while Gab Marcotti weighs in with who Portugal can look too when Ronaldo struggles. You might be surprised who he picks.
- Argentina vs. Venezuela (7 p.m. ET on FS1): In the first of two Copa quarterfinal matches, Lionel Messi and Argentina play the tournament's true surprise package in Venezuela. ESPN FC's Doug McIntyre got a chance to see Messi in person in Seattle against Bolivia, and the diminutive Barcelona striker didn't disappoint those in attendance. If Messi and Argentina beat Venezuela, they'll face the United States in the semifinals, after the Americans knocked off Ecuador in the quarters.
- Mexico vs. Chile (10 p.m. ET on FS1): The second match on Saturday is also the sexiest of the quarterfinals. In-form Mexico play defending Copa America champions Chile in Santa Clara, California. El Tri topped Group C, but will be without winger Javier Aquino for the match, leaving manager Juan Carlos Osorio shorthanded on the flanks. Despite never having lost a match under Osorio's reign, David Faitelson explains why Mexico is not the favourite to win the Copa America, or even the match vs. Chile.
Three key points
1. After a ho-hum 1-0 win against the Czech Republic, Spain looked every bit the two-time defending Euro champions and fashionable pick by many to three-peat in France as they dusted off Arda Turan and Turkey 3-0. Alvaro Morata scored twice and Celta Vigo (for now) striker Nolito added a goal and an assist as La Roja sailed to an easy win to book a spot in the knockout stages.
2. The Croatian team might be casting sideways glances at one another on the training pitch on Saturday after blowing a two-goal lead vs. the Czech Republic to settle for a 2-2 draw on Friday. Then again, the team might be casting sideways glances at their supporters, who set firecrackers and flares off in the stands late on, delaying the match and opening the door for Tomas Necid's injury-time leveller from the penalty spot. A bit of salt in the wound too, as the Croatian federation could face UEFA sanctions for the fan's behaviour. Following the match, Croatia manager Ante Cacic blamed the incident on the actions of "sports terrorists."
3. Colombia's goalkeeper David Ospina came to the rescue as his side reached the semifinals of the Copa after a penalty shootout win over Peru. It was Miguel Trauco who saw his shot saved before Christian Cueva's miss handed Colombia a 4-2 win. When the scheduling for this tournament was put together, it was not unreasonable to believe that we'd have been watching the U.S. play Brazil at MetLife Stadium on Friday night, but this spectacle lived up to expectations, writes Graham Parker.
Player of the Day
It's Cristiano Ronaldo. We hate ourselves for it, but it's Ronaldo. His petulant comments following the Iceland match will have the Real Madrid striker in full frame against Austria. Because lost in the firestorm he caused was the simple fact that he blew at least one gilt-edged chance for a winner and maybe two or three more he'd have likely scored in a Madrid jersey.
Also, Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed the chance on Friday, so Ronaldo could be the first player to score at four European Championships if he bags one.
Tweet of the day
Buenos días! As you can imagine our front page is about last night's 3-0 victory and Spain's passage to the last 16 pic.twitter.com/FhjQsWi8kP- AS English (@English_AS) June 18, 2016
Stat of the Day
It wasn't just the three-goal win vs. Turkey that has many pundits picking them to win Euro 2016. David De Gea kept his second clean sheet in goal to extend Spain's record 688-minute shutout streak in the competition.
Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.