Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Prediction: Portugal vs Algeria

Verdict: Portugal to Win to Nil

Best Odds: 1/1

Bookmaker: BetVictor

Reigning European champions Portugal welcome the Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo back to the team for the Selecao’s final World Cup prep game ahead of the showpiece tournament in Russia.

Portugal

Thursday’s match at the Estadio Da Luz will be Portugal’s third and final check ahead of the 2018 World Cup. Fernando Santos’ men are coming from from back-to-back stalemates against the likes of Tunisia and Belgium, and will be keen to get back to winning ways and boost their morale ahead of the trip to Russia.

Portugal have been given an unfavourable draw for the group stage as they will have to go against Iberian rivals Spain, Morocco and Iran in Group B. A compelling triumph would be a perfect send-off for the Portuguese team which will attempt to do the seemingly impossible and win the World Cup to connect the two major trophies in just two years’ time. Cristiano Ronaldo joining the team will be a major boost for Portugal who will have been disappointed by a goalless stalemate against Belgium last Saturday. The Real Madrid forward has been given an extended break after the Champions League success and there is no doubt Ronaldo will be raring to go. Often described as selfish and egocentric, Cristiano Ronaldo appears to have changed his mentality – at the international level at least – which he showed by taking a leading role in guiding his team to European success both from the pitch and from the touchline.

Team News

Cristiano Ronaldo’s return is bound to be a massive boost for the Portuguese side.

Fernando Santos is expected to field his strongest side possible with Rui Patricio expected to return between the sticks for Beto who wore the No.1 shirt in the last outing.

Algeria

Desert Foxes head into the Portugal friendly with a great load of pressure resting on their shoulders. Algeria suffered a huge disappointment during the World Cup qualifiers after finishing last in the African Group B, with no wins in six matches against Cameroon, Zambia and Nigeria.

The downward spiral continued with three defeats in last three matches with the 3-2 blow against Cape Verde thought to have signalled the end of the road for the Algerian manager. Rabah Madjer achieved two victories, a draw and three defeats since taking the helm over from Spaniard Lucas Alcarez last November but the Algerian FA have voiced their support of the manager despite certain reports claiming he is enduring a frosty relationship with some senior players. The Thursday’s match against Portugal is likely to pile more pressure on Madjer as it is highly unlikely that Desert Foxes will be able to get any kind of a positive result against the extremely motivated Portuguese side.

Team News

Algeria will most likely hand starting roles to both Riyad Mahrez and Nabil Bentaleb who had a hand in a disappointing Cape Verde defeat.

Islam Slimani could also be rewarded with a starting berth after coming off from the bench in the last match.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Algeria won only 1 of their last 13 away friendlies
  • Ten out of 11 Portugal’s home friendlies resulted in over 2.5 goals
  • Desert Foxes failed to keep a clean sheet in last four games
  • Portugal lost only one of their last 10 matches in all competitions
  • Algeria have gone 12 consecutive games without a draw

Conclusion

Beyond a grain of doubt, Portugal are seen as firm favourites to land a morale-boosting win in their last test match ahead of the World Cup. Algeria are coming off from a difficult spell and are low on confidence which is why we don’t see them being capable of hurting Portugal in any way.

Verdict: Portugal to Win to Nil

Best Odds: 1/1

Bookmaker: BetVictor

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