Thursday, June 24, 2021

Prediction: Spain vs Portugal

Tom Dunstan in Free Soccer Predictions 3 Jun 2021

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Verdict: Under 2.5 goals

Best Odds: 7/10

Bookmaker: Unibet

In what is an all-star showdown at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on Friday evening, Spain and Portugal will face off in a friendly showdown.

Spain

Starting with the hosts, while Spain might have last been seen back in March collecting back-to-back 2-1 and 3-1 wins against Georgia and Kosovo, the former world champions have struggled to find top gear. Despite signing off their run to the Nations League semi-finals with that famous 6-0 romp against Germany on home soil last year, Luis Enrique’s side could only open their World Cup qualifying campaign with a shock 1-1 draw against Greece in Granada. Nevertheless, still opening this summer’s European Championships as one of the standout picks, the one-time Barcelona boss should be boosted by his side’s continued success on home soil. Unbeaten in each of their last 11 straight home fixtures, a run that stems back to their 3-2 defeat against England back in October 2018, Enrique will use Friday’s showdown in Madrid as the perfect chance to get a look at his squad for the first time since March. One man it is worth keeping an eye out for is Villarreal’s red-hot number nine, Gerard Moreno. Guiding The Yellow Submarine to this year’s Europa League title, the 29-year-old recorded 30 goals for club and country this season.

Team News

Including veteran defender Sergio Ramos, Spain boss Luis Enrique made the shock decision to exclude all Real Madrid’s players from his squad.

Switching his allegiance from France last month, Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte could make his Spain debut on Friday.

Portugal

As for the visitors, also left disappointed to have only collected a point against Serbia back in March while on World Cup qualifying duties, Fernando Santos’ side did manage to battle back. Avoiding what could have been a real banana skin, they did eventually land a hard-fought 3-1 win against Luxembourg on foreign soil last time out. Just about missing out on a spot in the semi-final of the Nations League, The Navigators now have their sights firmly set on defending their European crown this summer. Unbeaten in their last four contests and also landing a 3-2 win against 2018 World Cup finalists Croatia back in November, Portugal have also continued to impress with their performances on foreign soil. Knowing that victory in Madrid this week would be the perfect momentum heading into the summer, Santos will be calling on attacking icon Cristiano Ronaldo to spearhead their charge on Friday evening. While the 36-year-old might have failed to guide Juventus back to their Serie A crown this summer, he did rack up a hugely impressive 39 goals for club and country this season.

Team News

After featuring in Manchester City’s Champions League defeat last weekend, the duo of Ruben Dias and Bernardo Silva are expected to settle for a place on the bench.

After overcoming an injury scare, Liverpool forward Diogo Jota should feature this weekend.

Key Factors to Consider

    • Spain are unbeaten in their last six matchups across all formats, recording three wins and three draws.
    • Aside from a 1-0 loss against France back in November, Portugal have lost just one of their last 13 matchups across all formats.
    • Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo recorded 39 goals for club and country this season.
    • Likewise, Villarreal striker Gerard Moreno bagged himself 30 goals throughout the 2020/21 campaign.
    • Five of Spain’s last six matchups have finished with both teams finding the net.

    Conclusion

    While Friday’s meeting in Madrid might be a heavyweight showdown, Spain and Portugal did play out what was a cagey affair when they faced off in another friendly showdown back in October. With the defending European champions only managing to muster a single shot on target and lucky to have left with something to show for their efforts, both sides have largely struggled to find top gear with much stability. Both left frustrated to have dropped points against Greece and Serbia during their World Cup qualifying openers, we could have another low-scoring contest on our hands. With only one of the last seven meetings between Spain and Portugal ending with both teams finding the net, we’re backing a similar outcome at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano.

    Verdict: Under 2.5 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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