Monday, January 23, 2017

Prediction: England vs Portugal

Verdict: Home win

Odds: 11/10

Bookmaker: William Hill

It is the end of the road for Roy Hodgson’s men, who are set to host Portugal in their final friendly match ahead of their first group game at the Euro 2016. The Three Lions will be keen to impress against rivals another European Championship participant, who come to England without their key player Cristiano Ronaldo.

England

As the beginning of the Euro 2016 is getting closer, participating nations are finishing their preparations for the showpiece event in France. Following their 2-1 triumph over Australia last week, England are getting ready for their ultimate test before the real thing. Portugal will be a fitting challenge before England’s first group game against Germany and Roy Hodgson’s men are eager to impress at Wembley before they pack their bags and hit the road to the neighbourhood. England boss Roy Hodgson trimmed his squad list whittling his selection to the final 23 men. Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford has done enough to convince the coaching staff to take him to Euros having scored on his senior debut against Australia. Another surprise is the exclusion of Danny Drinkwater, who was overlooked despite a fantastic season with Leicester. Instead, there was a place for Jack Wilshere who played 45 minutes against the Socceroos and made the cut despite his well-documented problems with injuries. Andros Townsend was another player to be omitted. England are heading into their friendly match with Portugal in fine form and in good spirits as the nation keeps its expectations high hoping that this might be the year England will step up to the plate at the continental championship.

Team News

Tottenham players Harry Kane, Danny Rose, Dele Alli and Kyle Walker all missed the 2-1 win over Australia and are now expected to be back in the team as well as Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart.

Fabian Delph has suffered an injury last week that ruled him out of the squad and out of the European Championship finals.

Portugal

Fernando Santos’ men will have one more test after the England game as they are still to play Estonia before the Euros, but the high-profile match against the Three Lions is a great opportunity to grab a morale-boosting win which would also improve the confidence ahead the trip to France. Portugal are coming off from the 3-0 win over Norway on Sunday. Head coach Fernando Santos had only 21 players at his disposal as Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe missed the game due to their Champions League final participation with Real Madrid. Los Blancos’ duo will not be back until next week as they have been given an extended break after their Champions League success. They will however join their team in time for Estonia game and the start of their Euro 2016 journey which begins on 14 June against Iceland. Fernando Santos has already expressed his frustration upon being repeatedly asked about Real Madrid forward claiming that Portugal team does not depend upon one man. Portugal are seated in Group F of the Euro 2016 final together with Austria, Hungary and aforementioned Iceland.

Team News

Joao Mario and Andre Gomes are leading the options to start in wide midfield against England, together with Quaresma who is eager to continue in his spot following an impressive performance against Norway.

Pepe and Cristiano Ronaldo, as it was said earlier, have been given extended time off following their Champions League duties with Real Madrid.

Key Factors to Consider

  • England are playing their last prep math before the Euro 2016
  • The Three Lions have lost only 2 of their last 20 matches
  • Portugal won 6 of their last 7 away matches
  • Marcus Rashford has scored a goal in his senior debut
  • Cristiano Ronaldo will miss the second consecutive match for Portugal

Conclusion

England could have hardly hoped for a better conclusion to their Euro 2016 preparations as they will be up against an attractive and highly motivated rival. Portugal will try to end England’s positive run and give them a sad farewell to France. It will not be an easy task despite Portugal manager insists his team is more than just Cristiano Ronaldo as England finally have a competitive, attack-oriented and versatile team capable of defeating anyone. Momentum is on their side and they can end up winning the final friendly match before they pack their bags.

Verdict: Home win

Odds: 11/10

Bookmaker: William Hill

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