BOOKINGS boff Gavin Murphy (@GamePlanGavin) highlights the cards value for Saturday’s Euro 2016 last-16 tie between Croatia and Portugal.
Croatia v Portugal | Saturday 20.00 | ITV1
Croatia will look to beat Portugal for the first time as the sides meet in Lens, with Fernando Santos's team aiming to halt a run of three draws at Euro 2016.
Portugal have won all three previous matches against Croatia without conceding, most notably triumphing 3-0 in their first encounter, in the group stage of Euro '96 – though it was the last group game and Croatia, who had already qualified for the quarter-finals by winning twice, fielded an understrength line-up.
Their most recent meeting was a friendly in Geneva in June 2013, Cristiano Ronaldo scoring the only goal after 36 minutes.
There has never been last-16 game at the Euros before so there is no historical data to assess.
What we do know is that Spaniard Carlos Velasco Carballo gets the whistle for this one.
This may well be the last time we see the great man because he is retiring at the conclusion of the tournament and if Spain progress he is unlikely to cover another match.
In the opening weekend he dished out eight cards in the match between Albania and Switzerland. He was altogether more lenient during England's battle with Slovakia when he issued just two yellows.
A mixed bag so far but I have more faith in him giving out cards than the English pair of Mark Clattenburg and Martin Atkinson who are officiating the two other matches on Saturday.
Carballo has officiated Croatia twice previously and showed them three yellows and a red card. In this year's tournament the Croats have collected eight yellows and committed 38 fouls.
Portugal have collected just two cards so far despite committing 32 fouls.
In the qualification phase, matches involving the Portuguese averaged 60.6 bookings points. Croatia games typically had 52 bookings points.
Provided this isn't a drab, cagey affair then cards should be brandished by Carballo especially in the second-half when we could see offences such as time wasting, simulation and tactical cards (taking one for the team!).
All in all I'm backing Over 5 Cards with Bet365 at 1.875 on their Asian line. That looks a safe play as five cards would return our stake and 6+ give us a full win.
Croatia v Portugal – Over 5 Asian Cards (1.875 Bet365)