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Prediction: Switzerland vs Portugal

Verdict: Under 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 1/2

Bookmaker: bet365

After they narrowly missed out on the Euro 2016 quarter-finals, Switzerland will be looking to enjoy a strong start to the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign. Portugal, too, will have something to prove as the Euro 2016 champions were quite fortunate to lift the coveted trophy, although they did hammer Gibraltar 5-0 last time out.

Switzerland

The Switzerland national team have been showing plenty of improvement of late, but they haven’t quite managed to realise their full potential. The Rossocrociati were far from impressive at the Euro 2016 finals, scoring mere two goals in the group stage, albeit taking five points in the process, before losing to Poland on penalties in the first knockout stage. The Swiss will now be vying Portugal and Hungary for one of the top spots in Group B of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, playing host to the reigning European champions in their opening fixture. Nati are still without striker Josip Drmic, who missed the Euro 2016 finals through injury, while playmaker Xherdan Shaqiri will be sorely missed as well, having failed to recover from injury. Switzerland have been pretty impressive in competitive fixtures at home, winning 13 of last 18 games, although they were beaten by both Bosnia-Herzegovina and Belgium in international friendlies earlier this year. Despite facing star-studded Portugal, coach Vladimir Petkovic is expected to stay true to his adventurous style of play, meaning we should see an entertaining game of football at St-Jakob Park in Basel.

Team News

Xherdan Shaqiri and Josip Drmic are both out injured, whereas Philippe Senderos, Pajtim Kasami, Gokhan Inler and Valentin Stocker have been overlooked.

Portugal

The long wait for a major international title finally came to an end at the Euro 2016 as Portugal defeated hosts France in the final, but we have to say the Selecao were extremely fortunate to go all the way. Fernando Santos’ side won just one game in regular time, while they were outclassed by most opponents on the road to the trophy, although fair play to them for getting the most of the opportunity that presented itself. It is now up to Portugal to prove their success in France was no accident and the game against very good Switzerland side will definitely serve as a good test. The Selecao will have to make do without Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, but all other key men are available and Fernando Santos does seem to have enough strength in depth in all areas of the team. Portugal usually fail to impress in the qualifying campaigns, but they always find a way to make it to the tournament finals, so we don’t really expect them to enjoy a strong start this time out. The Selecao did well to defeat minnows Gibraltar 5-0 on Thursday, but this will clearly be a whole different ball game.

Team News

Cristiano Ronaldo has not made the squad due to injury, while Miguel Veloso, Ricardo Carvalho, Tiago Mendes and Renato Sanches also miss out.

Barcelona starlet Andre Gomes was forced to withdraw from the squad, and he has been replaced by FC Porto’s Andre Andre.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Switzerland won 13 of last 18 qualifiers at home (D4 L1)
  • Under 2.5 goals were scored in 7 of 10 meetings between the two sides
  • The teams are tied in those 10 games (W3 D4 L3)
  • Portugal are unbeaten in last nine fixtures
  • The Selecao kept three clean sheets in a row

Conclusion

Switzerland did not exactly impress at the Euro 2016 finals and with Shaqiri and Drmic missing, they could struggle to carve out clear-cut opportunities on Tuesday evening. Portugal, on the other hand, also have problems up front and now that Cristiano Ronaldo is missing, another low-scoring affair appears on the cards.

Verdict: Under 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 1/2

Bookmaker: bet365

Mon 5 Sep, 2016
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