Preview – Prediction
By: Jason Green
Date: Saturday June 16th
Match Odds: Spain -110 / Portugal +360 / Draw +235
Over/Under: 2.5 goals
Spain won the 2010 World Cup and they open this Tournament facing Portugal, who won the 2016 European Championships. These two teams have not faced each other since the 2012 European Championships where they played to a 0-0 draw and Spain went on to win on penalties. They also met in the 2010 World Cup where Spain beat Portugal 1-0.
In breaking news Spain’s manager Julen Lopetegui was recently fired after taking the managing job at Real Madrid and the team’s national sporting director Fernando Hierro will be at the helm in Russia.
This is likely THE match in Group B, as Spain and Portugal have to best betting odds to win while oddsmakers have Iran and Morocco as major longshots.
Spain has had Portugal’s number when facing them all time, as in 36 matches they have won 18 times, lost six times, and 12 matches ended in a draw.
Real Madrid superstar leads Portugal and he is coming off a Champions League win with his club team. The squad was solid in World Cup qualifying winning nine straight matches after losing their first one. While they do have a legit attack and averaged more than three goals per match in qualifying they scored 19 of their goals in Four matches facing the tiny nations of Andora and the Faroe Islands.
Andres Silva and Goncalo Guedes will likely play with Ronaldo up front and they have to play well to take the pressure of him. Portugal is pretty solid all up-and-down the pitch and they are not just a one trick pony with Ronaldo. He was injured early in the finals facing France and the squad still won.
Spain is simply loaded and while, on paper, they don’s have the same daunting attack up from they had a few years ago they still scored the 3rd most goals in European World Cip qualifying, which is very tough. David de Gea from Manchester United is one of the best goalies on the planet, the defense is staked with great players, and the midfield may be the best in the world with starts such as David Silva, Sergio Busquets, and Thiago Alcantara.
In Spain’s last Four friendly matches before the World Cup they did not allow more than one goal. Speaking of those friendlies they throttled 2014 World Cup runner-up Argentina beating them 6-1. They were even more impressive in the WC qualifying round only allowing three goals in their 10 matches.
Diego Costa leads the Spanish attack and he gets a lot of help from the midfield not only getting him the ball, but getting him space moving forward. Basically, Portugal has a tall task, but they may be up to it.
Last Three Matches
28/05/18 Portugal 2 Tunisia 2 (Friendly)
02/06/18 Belgium 0 Portugal 0 (Friendly)
07/06/18 Portugal 3 Algeria 0 (Friendly)
27/03/18 Spain 6 Argentina 1 (Friendly)
03/06/18 Spain 1 Switzerland 1 (Friendly)
09/06/18 Tunisia 0 Spain 1 (Friendly)
Prediction: I think Portugal will put up a fight, but Spain will come out on top. They are technically better all-around the pitch and they will contain Ronaldo. There will not be many goals scored in this match and it will be close, but Spain will find a way to net at least one goal and in a low scoring match they will get the win and the three points really taking control of group play after only one match.