English Football

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portugal18Portugal and Spain are the World Cup 2018 Group B heavyweights and they meet in the last of Friday’s matches which takes place at the Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi

 

 

 

Group B also includes Morocco and Iran and you can read our outright preview for this quartet here.

 

Portugal:

Portugal clinched the automatic qualification spot from their group after edging out Switzerland on goal difference. The pair finished well clear with a record of 9 wins and 1 defeat and Switzerland subsequently franked the form after qualifying through the play offs.

Portugal arrive in these finals as European Champions after lifting the Euro trophy in France 2016. It was a heart stopping tournament including draws in all 3 group matches. In the knockout rounds they beat Croatia in extra time, Poland in a penalty shoot out, saw off Wales 2-0 and then beat France in extra time in the final.

The Euro win saw Portugal head to Russia for the Confederations Cup 12 months ago. They drew with Mexico (2-2) and beat Russia (1-0) and New Zealand (4-0) in the group stage but lost to Chile (1-0) in the semi finals.

In their most recent friendly matches Portugal drew 2-2 with Tunisia and 0-0 with Belgium before a 3-0 victory over Algeria.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Beto (Goztepe), Rui Patricio (Sporting Lisbon)

Defenders: Bruno Alves (Rangers), Cedric Soares (Southampton), Jose Fonte (Dalian Yifang), Mario Rui (Napoli), Pepe (Besiktas), Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund), Ricardo Pereira (Porto), Ruben Dias (Benfica)

Midfielders: Adrien Silva (Leicester), Bruno Fernandes (Sporting Lisbon), Joao Mario (West Ham), Joao Moutinho (AS Monaco), Manuel Fernandes (Lokomotiv Moscow), William Carvalho (Sporting)

Forwards: Andre Silva (AC Milan), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Gelson Martins (Sporting Lisbon), Goncalo Guedes (Valencia), Ricardo Quaresma (Besiktas)

 

Spain:

Spain cruised through their qualifying group with 9 wins and 1 draw to finish 5 points clear of Italy. The 2010 World Cup winners now get the chance to atone for a nightmare 2014 finals when defeats in their first 2 group matches to the Netherlands (5-1) and Chile (2-0) made qualification for the knockout rounds impossible.

In Euro 2016 Spain were also disappointing. They did beat Czech Republic and Turkey in their first 2 group matches before a defeat to Croatia and in the first knockout round they lost 2-0 to Italy.

In friendly internationals this month Spain drew 1-1 with Switzerland and beat Tunisia 1-0 whilst earlier this year they thrashed Argentina 6-1 and drew 1-1 with Germany. Overall they are unbeaten since the Euro 2016 finals.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Pepe Reina (Napoli), David de Gea (Manchester United), Kepa Arrizabalaga (Athletic Bilbao)

Defenders: Nacho Fernandez, Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal (all Real Madrid), Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba (both Barcelona), Alvaro Odriozola (Real Sociedad), Nacho Monreal (Arsenal), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)

Midfielders: Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets (both Barcelona), Saul Niguez, Koke (both Atletico Madrid), Isco, Marco Asensio (both Real Madrid), Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich), David Silva (Manchester City)

Forwards: Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo), Rodrigo (Valencia), Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid), Lucas Vazquez (Real Madrid)

 

Recent Head to Head

27/06/12 Euros Portugal 0-0 Spain (Spain won on pens)

17/11/10 INTF Portugal 4-0 Spain

26/06/10 WC Spain 1-0 Portugal

 

The Betting - Bet Now

Match Result:

Portugal 7/2

Draw 23/10

Spain 9/10

Note, odds quoted are an approximate average and are correct at the time of last update but are subject to change

 

Verdict:

 

Edit: Shortly after this preview was published Spain sacked their coach but I will stick with the original prediction

 

I’m very open minded about this game in terms of the goals markets and the result as well. The quotes point towards a tight low scoring encounter with it being the opening match for the 2 group favourites being a factor. However, when you see the attacking talent in both camps I wouldn’t be keen to go low and hence 2-3 goals in total is my idea of the likely outcome.

 

Bets: Total goals 2-3 at 9/10

 

forumRemember you can have your own say on all this week’s matches on our discussion forum