Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Prediction: Portugal vs Serbia

Verdict: Over 2.5 goals scored – yes

Best Odds: 59/50

Bookmaker: 888sport

Portugal and Serbia are coming off draws in their most recent results, although the opposition and context were heavily different. But both nations must focus entirely for this Monday match, since these two sides are arguably the biggest favourites to reach a 2020 European Championship berth. This thrilling encounter will be held at 19:45 hrs GMT at Estádio da Luz in Lisbon.

Portugal

Fernando Santos’ men are coming off three consecutive draws (two 0-0 and a 1-1), including two at home against smaller sides such as Poland and Ukraine. Even though they’re currently riding a seven-game undefeated streak (all venues, all competitions: W3, D4) and considering the fact that their most recent loss came in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Portugal are still quite far from their best version since the coaching staff is currently trying to make changes to the national team setup. With new names such as Ruben Neves, Joao Felix, Diogo Jota, Ruben Dias and Goncalo Guedes flanking experienced elements such as Pepe, Joao Moutinho and Cristiano Ronaldo, Santos wants to mix new faces in his already-successful list of players that carried Portugal to the top of the UEFA Nations League group. But it remains to be seen whether that will translate to a successful 2020 European Championship Qualifying run, especially since their debut resulted in a less-than-inspiring 0-0 home draw against Ukraine. Can they leave that aside and secure the three points against Serbia?

Team News

The squad led by Fernando Santos won’t have Bruno Fernandes, who suffered an injury a few days ago.

It could also be the chance for Benfica’s phenom Joao Felix and Wolves’ forward Diogo Jota to earn their first senior caps.

Serbia

On the other hand, Serbia are coming off a draw as well since they secured a 1-1 stalemate against Germany and they’re currently in a good run of form. The Eastern Europe side is coming off a dominant performance in the UEFA Nations League as they clinched promotion to League B thanks to a six-game unbeaten run (W4, D2) as they faced Lithuania, Montenegro and Romania. Just like Portugal, they’ve also gone undefeated in their seven post-World Cup matches (W4, D3), keeping three clean sheets and scoring multiple goals in four separated matches. But playing Portugal will undoubtedly represent their toughest opponent in a competitive match since they faced Brazil during last year’s World Cup (0-2 loss). Will they begin their European Championship qualifying run pulling the upset on Portuguese soil? Or will they see their undefeated run come to an end against Cristiano Ronaldo and company?

Team News

Serbia will miss some important players entering this match.

Nemanja Matic, Filip Kostic, Aleksandar Prijovic and Aleksandar Kolarov have all withdrawn of the squad due to injuries.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Serbia have kept a clean sheet in four of their last five away matches (excluding the 2018 FIFA World Cup).
  • Portugal have lost just twice on home soil (W8, D5, L2) in the last 24 months. Four of those draws registered goals from both sides.
  • Each of Serbia’s last seven away matches have produced under 2.5 total goals.
  • Portugal hold the edge on the H2H record against Serbia: W2, D2. All four matches featured both sides scoring, and the last two had over 2.5 goals scored.
  • Both sides are undefeated in their previous five matches in all competitions (POR: W2, D3 – SER: W3, D2)

Conclusion

Portugal should be the odds-on favourite to secure the three points in this one. However, Serbia could represent a tough opponent even if they won’t have some of their best players ahead of this one. Expect an open contest with at least three total goals scored.

Verdict: Over 2.5 goals scored – yes

Best Odds: 59/50

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Juan Pablo Aravena


A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.

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