Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Prediction: Portugal vs Ireland

Tom Dunstan in Free Soccer Predictions, World Cup 31 Aug 2021

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Verdict: Portugal win by 2+ goals

Best Odds: 7/10

Bookmaker: Unibet

Turning their attention back to World Cup qualifying duties on Wednesday night, Portugal will welcome Ireland to the Estádio Do Algarve when the September international fixtures get underway.

Portugal

Starting with the hosts, eventually crashing out of this summer’s European Championships without making much of a mark, Portugal will be seeking a much-welcomed boost on Wednesday night. Hit with a round of 16 1-0 loss at the hands of Belgium, the Seleção managed to collect just a single win during the whole of their European adventure, a run highlighted by that action-packed 4-2 loss against an inconsistent Germany. However, tipped as a landslide pick to make a return to winning ways in midweek, Head Coach Fernando Santos finds his side storming their way to next year’s World Cup. Last seen on Group A duties landing a hard-fought 3-1 win away at a plucky Luxembourg on March 30th, the now-former European champions have collected seven points from their three qualifying outings. In fact, Portugal are unbeaten in each of their last 12 straight World Cup qualifying matchups on home soil, a run that has seen them muster 11 victories.

Team News

Portugal will be without the likes of William Carvalho, Joao Felix, Renato Sanches, and Jose Fonte for any of their September qualifying matchups.

Making a stunning return to Manchester United last week, Cristiano Ronaldo will lead the charge on Wednesday night.

Ireland

As for the visitors, while Portugal might find themselves storming their way towards next year’s World Cup, the same cannot be said for what could still be a downbeat Ireland squad. Making the decision to stick with Head Coach Stephen Kenny, The Greens have the feel of a side that are desperately seeking some kind of stability under the former Dundalk boss. Once again failing to book a spot at this summer’s delayed European Championships, the Greens are also yet to get themselves off the mark from any of their opening three Group A matchups. Yet to pick up a single competitive victory under Kenny, Ireland were last seen on World Cup qualifying duties getting hit with a dreadful 1-0 loss at home against Luxembourg. In the midst of what has become a real crisis and opening their World Cup run with a 5-1 drumming at the hands of Denmark, Wednesday’s guests know they should face a stern test here.

Team News

Ireland have decided to leave out the likes of Darren Randolph, James McCarthy and Robbie Brady.

Meanwhile, they have welcomed uncapped defenders Nathan Collins and Andrew Omobamidele to their squad for the first-time.

Key Factors to Consider

    • In the only previous meeting between Wednesday’s opponents, Portugal picked up a 5-1 romp back in 2014.
    • The Seleção have collected seven points from their three Group A matchups so far.
    • Likewise, the former European champions l are unbeaten in each of their last 12 straight World Cup qualifying matchups on home soil, a run that has seen them muster 11 victories.
    • Ireland are yet to pick up a competitive victory under Head Coach Stephen Kenny.
    • The Greens are also yet to pick up a single Group A matchup so far this year.

    Conclusion

    While Portugal might have been disappointed by their performances at this summer’s European Championships, Wednesday’s hosts should be looking to pick up a boost. Turning their attention back to World Cup qualifying duties and appearing to storm their way to next year’s finals, the Seleção already find themselves sat at the top of Group A. Holding what is a rampant record on home soil, there is no doubt that a downbeat Ireland should face another overwhelming test at the Estádio Do Algarve. Still yet to pick up a single Group A win so far this year, and without a competitive victory under Head Coach Stephen Kenny, it is hard to see anything other than a routine home win here.

    Verdict: Portugal win by 2+ goals

    Best Odds: 7/10

    Bookmaker: Unibet

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Tom Dunstan


    Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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