Monday, September 24, 2018

Prediction: Portugal vs Italy

Juan Pablo Aravena in Free Soccer Predictions 9 Sep 2018

2,609 Views

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 23/20

Bookmaker: 888sport

Neither Portugal nor Italy were able to walk away with the three points in their respective debuts in the UEFA Nations League. And knowing the situation they are in, both sides will attempt to secure their first three points in Europe’s newest tournament since three points could be vital on their quest to secure a berth in the 2020 European Championship. The game will start at 19:45 hrs (BST) and William Collum (Scotland) will be the referee.

Portugal

Portugal reached the Round of 16 in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but they were stunned by Uruguay, losing 2-1 and suffering an early exit despite the fact they entered the tournament as European champions. Things didn’t far much better for them at the start of the UEFA Nations League, however, and only managed to settle for a 1-1 draw against Croatia in the tournament’s opener. Croatia might be coming off a Final appearances in the World Cup this past summer, but Portugal were at home and should have won despite the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo. This draw against Croatia represented Portugal’s fourth game in the last five where they have been unable to win (W1, D3, L1). Will they turn back the clock to secure a massive win over a struggling Italy side that seems to be far away from their best years?

Team News

Undoubtedly, Portugal’s biggest absence will be the one of Cristiano Ronaldo. The Juventus star won’t feature here since he’s still getting used to life in Italy after moving to Juventus during the summer transfer window.

Italy

Portugal could feel sorry for their early 2018 FIFA World Cup exit, but Italian fans could easily say that “at least Portugal were in the World Cup” due to Italy’s absence. The Azzurri side were a major disappointment during the play-off rounds, losing to Sweden by 1-0 on the aggregate score and failing to reach a World Cup for the first time since 1958. But now Italy have been trying to change things with the arrival of Roberto Mancini. The former Manchester City manager has assembled a very young squad – his current team only has four players over the 30-year-old mark, and most of them sit in the 23-25-year-old range, as the squad is now clearly built for the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification. Can they take a step in the right direction by defeating a resilient Portugal side?

Team News

Italy shouldn’t have any notable absentees heading into this game.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Each of Italy’s last five games have seen both teams score.
  • Currently ranked #7 by FIFA, Portugal have not recorded any win over European opponents this calendar year.
  • Overall, there have been under 2.5 goals scored in nine of Italy’s last eleven games.
  • Italy have won six of their last seven matches against Portugal.
  • This will be each side’s second game in the UEFA Nations League.
  • Italy’s last five games have seen both teams scoring. The same thing has happened in four out of Portugal’s five games.

Conclusion

Considering both sides’ scoring tendencies, I wouldn’t disagree with this game ending with both teams scoring. The trend is clearly there for both sides.

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 23/20

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Juan Pablo Aravena


A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.

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