Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Prediction: Portugal vs Czech Republic

Verdict: Portugal win

Best Odds: 8/15

Bookmaker: Dachbet

Getting their Group F campaign underway on Tuesday night, Portugal will meet the Czech Republic at the Red Bull Arena in Leipzig.

Portugal

Starting with Portugal, while the Navigators might have been frustrated out in Qatar 18 months ago as they eventually had to settle for a quarter-final finish, they have continued to shine under the guidance of Roberto Martinez. With some tipping the former European champions as a real dark horse contender this summer, the former Belgium boss will be calling on his squad to make an early statement on Tuesday night. Signing off their pre-EURO 24 preparations with a routine 3-0 romp at home against Ireland, Portugal also enjoyed a remarkable qualifying romp last year. Winning all of their 10 Group J appearances by an aggregate score of 36-2, Martinez’s men have also enjoyed quite the free-scoring run in the final third. Likewise, landing a 4-0 victory when they last met the Czech Republic back in September 2022 while in Nations League action, the Navigators will be seeking a repeat performance here.

Team News

Notching a pair of goals against Ireland last week and breaking a string of records since completing his history-making move to Saudi Arabia in the winter of 2022, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner will lead out Portugal on Tuesday night. While veteran defender Pepe might now be 41, the former Real Madrid superstar will start at the heart of Martinez’s defence here.

Heavily linked with what would be a blockbuster Premier League switch this summer, 19-year-old sensation Joao Neves should start alongside Manchester United skipper Bruno Fernandes in midfield. Liverpool star Diogo Jota could be handed the nod and join Ronaldo in the final third.

Czech Republic

As for the Czech Republic, while Ivan Hasek’s men might open their EURO 24 adventure facing a real challenge against the former European champions, they do find the mood in their camp at a red-hot high. Suffering just a single defeat during their qualifying adventure last year, the Reds have also enjoyed an extended flurry over the past few months. Signing off their pre-tournament preparations with a 2-1 victory against North Macedonia, the one-time Strasbourg boss has seen his squad win all of their previous five appearances across all competitions. However, hit with a routine 4-0 drumming when they last met their Group F rivals back in September 2022, they will be worried by a nightmare record against Portugal. Losing all of their last four historic meetings against this summer’s title contenders by an aggregate score of 10-1, Hasek’s side will be confident of putting in a better account of themselves.

Team News

Enjoying what was a sensational campaign with German record-breakers Bayer Leverkusen last season and also finding the net against North Macedonia last week, attacking talisman Patrick Schick will spearhead the Czech’s charge on Tuesday night. West Ham midfielder Tomas Soucek will lead out Hasek’s side in Leipzig and earn a 70th international cap at the Red Bull Arena.

In what has been a major blow for the Czech Republic, they have confirmed that midfielder Michal Sadilek will not play any part this summer after suffering a fluke injury while in training a few days ago. Slavia Prague shot-stopper Jindrich Stanek will be given the nod and keep his spot between the sticks.

Key Factors to Consider

    • When Portugal and the Czech Republic last met back in September 2022 while in Nations League action, the Navigators collected a routine 4-0 romp.
    • Likewise, Portugal have won all of their previous four historic meetings against Tuesday’s opponents by an aggregate score of 10-1.
    • Martinez’s men won all of their 10 EURO 24 qualifying appearances last year by an aggregate score of 36-2.
    • The Czech Republic have won all of their previous five appearances across all competitions – a run that has seen them bag 16 goals.
    • Including a brace against Ireland last week, five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo has notched 130 goals in his 207 international appearances.

    Conclusion

    While the Czech Republic might open this summer’s European Championships in the midst of what has been a major purple patch, it is Portugal who find themselves pencilled in as a standout contender here. Enjoying what was a sensational qualifying romp last year as they won all of their 10 Group J appearances by an aggregate score of 36-2, Martinez’s men will be looking to make an early statement on Tuesday night.

    Verdict: Portugal win

    Best Odds: 8/15

    Bookmaker: Dachbet

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Tom Dunstan


    Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
    Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan

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