Thursday, June 1, 2023

Prediction: Luxembourg vs Portugal

Veselin Trajkovic in Free Soccer Predictions 25 Mar 2023


Verdict: Portugal to score three or more goals

Best odds: 5/6

Bookmaker: Betfair

The Euro 2024 qualifications are already underway in Group J of the UEFA region, and the clash between Luxembourg and Portugal, set to take place on Sunday evening at the Luxembourg Stadium, in the city bearing the same name as the country itself.

Though relatively modern and rather sightly, the venue is small, holding just over 9,300 seats.


Marked as perpetual outsiders, Luxembourg have been steadily improving over the recent years. They still aren’t quite considered favourites in many games, but until recently, other teams counted on the three points against them in advance. Now they’re mostly being forced to work very hard to earn them, and nothing is a given anymore, as Slovakia discovered in the opening round.

Slovakia mostly dominated that match, but Luc Holtz’s team stood their ground and kept a clean sheet despite the hosts taking a total of 18 shots, picking up an important point while extending their unbeaten run to six matches in all competitions.

Luxembourg actually played an impressive World Cup qualifying campaign, finishing third in their group with the same tally as Republic of Ireland. They also finished second to Turkey in League C Group 1 of the Nations League, racking up 11 points from six matches.

Leaving Portugal aside, the rest of this group, including the likes of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and, of course Slovakia, will all seem beatable to them.

Team News

With no reported injury worries after the Slovakia draw, Holtz isn’t expected to change anything for Sunday, which means captain Laurent Jans is likely to start on the bench again.

With Anthony Moris in goal, the back line should see Lars Gerson pair up with Maxime Chanot, flanked by Mica Pinto and Florian Bohnert. The flat midfield line should consist of Yvandro Borges Sanches, Christopher Martins, Leandro Barreiro and Danel Sinani, while Portugal-born Gerson Rodrigues joins Mathias Olesen upfront.


Unsurprisingly, it’s all about Cristiano Ronaldo in Portugal at the moment, whose start in the 4-0 thrashing of Liechtenstein made him the most capped player in the history of international football. It was his 198th appearance for his country, and the two goals he scored raised his total tally to 122. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has had his share of controversy and criticism, but having dominated the world scene (alongside Lionel Messi, of course) for more than 15 years, at the age of 38, he’s still going strong and there’s no doubt whatsoever that the football lovers across the globe have been privileged to witness such a remarkable career.

Portugal are, of course, the strongest team in this group by far and barring something completely unexpected, nobody can see them being challenged seriously for the top spot. Though some may point to the fact that they were unexpectedly beaten to it in the World Cup qualifications, with all due respect, there is a difference between Serbia and the teams Portugal face here.

Following Portugal’s disappointing exit from the tournament in Qatar in the quarterfinals, where they succumbed to Morocco, Fernando Santos left the position of head coach and has been replaced by former Belgium boss Roberto Martinez.

Team News

Martinez fielded a fiercely offensive 3-5-2 lineup against Liechtenstein, and much like Holtz, he isn’t expected to tinker with it.

With Rui Patricio in goal, the back three would then be formed by Ruben Dias, Danilo Pereira and Goncalo Inacio. Pahlinha would be the powerhouse in the middle of the pitch, tasked with corrective actions when needed. Joao Cancelo and Raphael Guerreiro would play out wide, covering the entire length of the pitch as the wing-backs, while Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva provide creativity and support for Ronaldo and Joao Felix upfront.

Meanwhile, the likes of Ruben Neves, Diogo Jota and Rafael Leao represent formidable options as potential game-changers from the bench, alongside other players of high quality who will be there.


For all the progress Luxembourg have made in recent years, this is hardly a contest they can hope to survive unbeaten. As has been said, Portugal are the undisputed favourites in the group, which obviously goes for any match they play in it as well, and they will seek to put as many goals past the hosts as possible.

Verdict: Portugal to score three or more goals

Best odds: 5/6

Bookmaker: Betfair


Veselin Trajkovic

Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.



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