Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Prediction: Portugal vs Serbia

Tom Dunstan in Free Soccer Predictions, World Cup 13 Nov 2021

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Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 10/11

Bookmaker: Unibet

With it all left to play for heading into the final round of qualifying matchups, Portugal will welcome Serbia to the Estádio da Luz in Lisbon on Sunday night.

Portugal

Starting with the hosts, while Portugal might have made the trip out to Ireland over the weekend smelling a golden chance to book their spot at next year’s World Cup finals, it was a largely toothless display on foreign soil. Despite having Manchester United talisman Cristiano Ronaldo leading their line, the former European champions could only muster a 0-0 stalemate in Dublin. With Head Coach Fernando Santos making it clear that he will be calling an immediate bounce back when they return to Lisbon on Sunday night, the Seleção know that their fate still remains in their own hands. Opening up their final Group A contest at the Estádio da Luz, even a single point on home soil this weekend will be enough for them to officially clinch top-spot. Although Santos might have seen his side endure a blip against Ireland over the weekend, they should at least be boosted by their recent success at the back. Winning five of their last six matchups across all formats, the European giants have also gone almost 400 minutes without picking the ball out of their own net.

Team News

Portugal will once again be without the trio of Anthony Lopes, Rafa Silva and Joao Mario this weekend.

However, in what could be a real boost, Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva is expected to make his return on Sunday night.

Serbia

As for the visitors, already knowing that they have long since managed to secure themselves at least a play-off spot, Serbia will make the trip out to Lisbon this weekend with nothing to lose. Signing off last month’s international fixtures with a 3-1 win at home against Azerbaijan, the Eagles also managed to secure some perfect momentum earlier in the week. Cruising their way to a 4-0 romp against Qatar in a friendly contest, Head Coach Dragan Stojković finds his side enjoying a real purple patch. While the Reds might have had to settle for their own disappointing stalemate against Ireland back in September, Serbia are in the midst of a six-match unbeaten run across all formats. In fact, it should also be noted that Sunday’s guests have remarkably tasted just a single defeat since their penalties loss against Scotland 12 months ago. Looking to cause an upset on their travels, Stojković will be calling on a red-hot Dušan Vlahović to spearhead their charge. Finding the net against Qatar last time out, the Fiorentina ace has four goals in just his last three international outings.

Team News

After all withdrawing from international duties, the quartet of Matija Nastasic, Marko Petkovic, Filip Djuricic and Darko Lazovic will not feature this weekend.

However, Dušan Vlahović should lead the line alongside Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrović.

Key Factors to Consider

    • When the two sides last faced off back in March they played out a 2-2 draw.
    • In fact, all seven of the previous meetings between Portugal and Serbia have finished with both teams finding the net.
    • Serbia have scored at least a trio of goals in four of their last six matchups across all formats.
    • Likewise, Portugal have won their last three home fixtures by an aggregate score of 10-1.
    • Both nations are enjoying their own six-match unbeaten runs, recording five wins and a single draw.

    Conclusion

    While both nations might have impressed with their displays at the back, we could have a lively affair in Lisbon this weekend. With it all left to play for at the top of Group A, Serbia will know that nothing short of maximum points will be enough to sneak their automatic ticket to next year’s World Cup finals. However, having to settle for a sluggish stalemate against Ireland earlier in the week, Portugal will be desperate to avoid what would be a real collapse. Still gaining a reputation for their free-scoring displays on home soil, chances could come at both ends of the picth. It should be noted, with all seven of the previous meetings between Sunday’s opponents finishing with both teams finding the net, we’re backing a similar outcome here.

    Verdict: Both teams to score

    Best Odds: 10/11

    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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