Friday, October 20, 2017

Prediction: Portugal vs Switzerland

Milos Markovic in Free Soccer Predictions, World Cup 9 Oct 2017

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Verdict: Home Win

Best Odds: 4/6

Bookmaker: William Hill

Portugal have their faith firmly in their hands ahead of the crunch World Cup qualifier against Switzerland on Tuesday night. Ronaldo and co. want to avoid another qualifying playoff and will hope their fans will lead them to victory at the Estadio da Luz. Switzerland, on the other side, will be keen to extend their perfect record in the qualification so it’s fair to say we are in for quite a football treat.

Portugal

The European champions’ memories of the Euro 2016 qualifying playoff are still fresh and Fernando Santos’ men are determined to avoid the unnecessary burden on road to Russia as they prepare to welcome group leaders Switzerland.

The forthcoming clash will be the ideal opportunity for Portugal to exact revenge for the 2-0 reverse loss in Switzerland, the one that kick-started an eight-match winning run in the qualifiers. Led by their biggest star and captain Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal now trail Switzerland by three points and will overturn them from the throne with a victory. The Real Madrid star was once again the man of the hour for Portugal as he came off the substitute bench to save his team’s blushes against Andorra last time out. Los Blancos forward took centre stage after a goalless draw and sent the ball home from close range at the hour mark. Ronaldo helped his team crack open the rivals and it was Andre Silva who closed the deal.

Team News

Cristiano Ronaldo is one booking away from suspension but he will nevertheless be included in the starting line-up for the crunch clash.

No other changes are expected as Portugal manager is likely to field his best team.

Switzerland

With 27 points from nine games – three clear of Portugal – Switzerland national team travel to Estadio da Luz with an unfavourable goal difference.

It is a detail that could very much prove to be a crucial aspect when it comes to determining who gets to claim an automatic qualification berth. Portugal’s 30-4 is much higher compared to Swiss 23-5 and it is fair to say that the situation in Group B will go down the wire. However, Switzerland have every right to feel optimistic ahead of their trip to Portugal. They managed to extend their perfect World Cup qualifying record on Saturday thanks to a compelling 5-2 win over Hungary, even though the scoreline does not reveal the true story behind the game. Hungary goalkeeper Peter Gulasci made two calamitous blunders to gift the Swiss with two goals, whereas that Fabian Frei’s goal came in after an unbelievable deflection. Either way, three points are what counts ahead of arguably the biggest game of the generation.

Team News

Double scorer against Hungary, Zuber, is likely to keep his starting berth in front of Xherdan Shaqiri who is pushing for a place in the starting line-up.

Seferovic will once again start, although Breel Embolo could also be given a nod if Petkovic decided to go for a change of formation for the game in Portugal.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Cristiano Ronaldo scored 15 goals thus far in the qualifiers
  • Portugal won their last eight World Cup qualifiers
  • Switzerland kept a clean sheet in 6 of their last 7 matches
  • The Swiss won their last ten matches in all competitions
  • Switzerland won last two meetings between these two sides

Conclusion

The number will count to nothing if Portugal ran out on the pitch as motivated as ever to seal their place in the Russia without the unnecessary burden of the playoff. Cristiano Ronaldo is in excellent form and is likely to lead his team once again. With the support of their home fans, Portugal need to be taken as favourites here.

Verdict: Home Win

Best Odds: 4/6

Bookmaker: William Hill

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Milos Markovic


Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia Sportske.net, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently Soccernews.com and Futbolgrad.com. His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.

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