Portugal will take on strong Spain in their first match of the World Cup 2018. The Spanish squad has faced a big backlash as they sacked their head coach just two days before their match against Portugal. The 2010 World Cup Champions had a miserable run in the 2014 World Cup and will be looking forward to making a statement in their first match.
While Portugal defied all expectations by winning the Euro Cup in 2016, they aren’t seen as the favourites. They will be looking forward to proving themselves in the big stage once again. Both Spain and Portugal are filled with class players and some of them will play their last World Cup. Portugal will be led by 5 time Balon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo while Spain is led by his Real Madrid teammate Sergio Ramos.
Portugal has a pretty balanced squad but they still have to rely on their talisman Cristiano to get them past the line. Portugal has a decent run of form as they won 2 of their 6 fixture losing just once against the Netherlands. Portugal has failed to score in just 2 of their 12 matches and with their main man Cristiano in such form, they can expect to find the back of the net.
Spain has been phenomenal under Julen Lopetegui. They are unbeaten since June 2016 having won 14 of their last 20 matches and scoring at least 2 goals in 15 of those matches. Due to some clash with the Spanish board, Julen Lopetegui was sacked just 2 days before their first clash. With a new coach just a day before such a big match, it can be a hard test for Spain.
After winning the Euro Cup in 2016, Portugal didn’t really manage to get any better with their defence. They still rely on 35-year-old Pepe, 36-year-old Bruno Alves, and 34-year-old Jose Fonte.
They do have a good bunch of young players in all positions. Bernaldo Silva, Andre Silva and Goncalo Guedes all in good form, they will play a very important role in Portugal’s campaign. It will be a tough choice between Guedes and Andre Silva. Guedes scored a brace in Portugal’s friendly against Algeria but Silva has played well with Ronaldo.
Portugal Predicted XI:
Patricio, Cedric, Pepe, Fonte, Guerreiro, Moutinho, Carvalho, B Silva, J Mario, Ronaldo, A Silva
Although Spain has an amazing pool of players to choose the playing 11, they lack an in-form regular forward to lead the front line. The defense of Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique, Dani Carvajal and Jordi Alba is the most experienced one in the competition and with David De Gea between the sticks, they will be hard to get past. They also possess a star-studded midfield of Isco, Iniesta, Alcantara, Busquets and David Silva.
Spain Predicted XI:
De Gea, Carvajal, Pique, Ramos, Alba, Busquets, Alcantara, D Silva, Isco, Iniesta, Costa
Isco is in insane form and recently scored a hat-trick against Argentina. Diego Costa will have a strong physical presence in the box and both Ramos & Pique are exceptional in the air. For Portugal, Cristiano and Andre Silva will be upfront as they compliment each other very well. Considering the importance of the game, it is expected to be a tight affair with Spain winning by 2-1.
Spain to win and over 2.5 goals at 13/5.
Spain to win 2-1 at 17/2.
Isco to score anytime 13/5.
Odds at Mr. Green and LeoVegas
Portugal to win at 79/20.
Draw at 21/10.
Spain to win at 11/10.
Over 2.5 match goals at 3/2.
Under 2.5 match goals at 14/25.