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Portugal vs Spain Prediction & Preview

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MATCH INFO – Portugal vs Spain Prediction & Preview

Competition World Cup 2018 – Group B
Start Date 15 June 2018 – 19:00 GMT
Venue Fisht Olympic Stadium
Referee Gianluca Rocchi, Italy

Portugal vs Spain Match Preview

In what is the first heavyweight clash of the tournament, Euro 2016 champions Portugal take on their neighbours Spain in Group B. As Morocco and Iran complete the rest of the group, the top spot could potentially be decided in Friday night’s fixture.

The Spanish come into this game in better form than Portugal having demolished Argentina 6-1, before drawing with Switzerland and beating Tunisia. Their current unbeaten run stretches back to September 2017 and has seen them avoid defeat in their last 20 matches.

The surprise sacking of Julen Lopetegui just one day before the World Cup tournament kicks-off was a shock to everyone. With a record of 14 wins, six draws and zero losses for Spain, it’s hard to make sense of it all. With that being said, in the opening games of the World Cup the former managers tactics will most likely be untouched as the SEFutbol were happy with the progression and playing style of the national team.

But despite conceding just three goals in qualifying, the World Cup warm-up games have suggested Spain’s defence isn’t as solid as it seems. Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique have failed to replicate their trophy winning club form in a Spanish back four that have conceded in four of their last five games. In that time, they’ve faced the likes of Tunisia, Russia, Switzerland, Germany and Argentina, where you’d expect a clean sheet in at least three of those matches.

For Portugal, their pre-tournament form has been rather inconsistent, losing 3-0 to a questionable Dutch side before going on to draw 2-2 against Tunisia and 0-0 against Belgium. Although, last time out they managed a 3-0 win over Algeria, suggesting there might still be a glimmer of hope for the champions of Europe.

Both teams have scored in four of Spain’s last five games, whilst Portugal have seen both teams on the scoresheet in just two of their previous five. As for head-to-head, a surprising six meetings have gone by without both teams scoring, dating back to 2002.

If there was one player likely to score on Friday night you’d back the ultimate big game player Cristiano Ronaldo, who has scored 81 goals for his national team, three of which in World Cup group stages.


Portugal vs Spain Team News:

  • Cédric Soares is expected to keep Ricardo Pereira on the bench and start at right-back against Spain on Friday night.
  • Goncalo Guedes and Bruno Fernandes impressed against Algeria last week but it remains to be seen whether Santos is bold enough to pick them in his starting XI.
  • Diego Costa, Rodrigo and Iago Aspas are all vying for a place in attack on Friday, having all had the chance to impress in the build up to the World Cup.
  • Koke and Thiago Alcántara are in competition for a place in Spain’s midield three alongside Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta.
  • Daniel Carvajal has returned to training but is a serious doubt for Friday and Álvaro Odriozola is expected to start as a result.

 


Portugal vs Spain Predicted Lineups:

Portugal:

portugal lineups

 

Spain:

spain lineups

 


Portugal vs Spain Head to Head (H2H):

Spain had a better head to head record than the European Champions, the two sides have met on 36 occasions with the Portuguese national team claiming a win eight times and 12 draws and suffered 18 defeats from the Spanish team.The teams last faced off in the semi-finals of Euro 2012 – Spain winning that one on penalties following a stalemate in normal time at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk.


Portugal vs Spain Stats:

Spain have not lost since Euro 2016 – a run of 20 matches unbeaten

Spain have lost their opening match at both of the previous two World Cups. They were European champions at the time of both, but Portugal have that crown now.

Portugal have failed to score in each of their last two opening matches at World Cups – drawing 0-0 with Ivory Coast in 2010 and losing 4-0 to Germany last time out.

Spain have won 18 of their 36 previous matches against Portugal, whereas the Portuguese have won just six.


Portugal vs Spain Predictions:

  • Portugal have only lost inside 90 minutes three times in the 25 matches since they won Euro 2016. Nevertheless, they have been handed the toughest possible way to start their World Cup campaign on Friday and will be underdogs against Spain.
  • Spain, meanwhile, are unbeaten in 20 matches since being dumped out of Euro 2016. However, they sacked Julen Lopetegui on Wednesday after it was announced on Tuesday he would take over at Real Madrid after the World Cup.

Match Prediction:    Portugal 3 – 2 Spain 

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