Home I Football I Portugal vs Spain Preview & Betting Tips
Well, the first match of the 2018 World Cup was a joy. None of this attritional nonsense, Saudi Arabia welcomed the hosts into the tournament by electing to play without a defence and the Russians obligingly took them apart, spanking them 5-0. Denis Cheryshev’s second goal was the pick of the bunch and sets Group A up nicely.
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Speaking of Group A, Egypt faces Uruguay at 13.00 on Friday and we think 4/6 Uruguay to win the match is a cracking price. Mohamed Salah looks certain to feature, but it’s highly unlikely he’s at anything like full fitness. Uruguay will have seen Russia’s opening statement- albeit against the shambles of a Saudi side- and will be looking to make one of their own. With that in mind, Uruguay -1 at 7/4 (Betfair Sports, Coral) looks a fair price.
Moving on to Group B, there’s a mouth-watering derby lined up on Friday night, live at 19.00. Spain plays Portugal in the first of this World Cup’s matches between two of the big hitters. Portugal, the 2016 European Championship winners, are 16/5 (Betfred) to beat Spain (11/10) who, despite having the best pedigree in recent tournament football history, kicked their manager out on the eve of the tournament.
Lopetegui negotiated a deal to become the Real Madrid manager, forgot to tell his bosses at the RFEF, and all of a sudden Fernando Hierro is in charge of the Spanish national team. Reports suggest that the Spanish players- led by Madrid captain Sergio Ramos- are unhappy at the decision.
With Spain keen to wipe away the memory of their shocking 2014 World Cup (they are third favourites this time around), it remains to be seen if this huge bit of news damages their chances this time around.
As we’re looking for a bet on the game, we’d better dig into some stats. Spain conceded three goals in the whole of qualifying, Portugal conceded four. Spain’s record in the opening game of World Cups is dreadful- they’ve won just two and lost seven of their twelve openers. Last time out they were beaten 1-0 by Switzerland. It would be no surprise if you can’t remember much of Portugal’s glorious 2016 Euro campaign- they won it ugly. They won just one game in 90 minutes en route to the final.
Morocco and Iran, likely making up Group B’s numbers, face off at 16.00 on Friday. We like Morocco to win at 13/10, by the way. Assuming Morocco gets it done in the afternoon, neither Spain nor Portugal will want to lose in the evening as it will put their qualification under pressure.
For that reason, we are backing the draw at 12/5 (Betway) as both sides will be happy with a point. It’s almost impossible that we will see an open, attacking game and as such goals are expected to be few and far between.
Coral are 15/2 no goalscorer and that, taking the above into account, looks a fair price. If, like us, you struggle to let a game go by without backing Ronaldo to score first, you’re best off shopping with William Hill- they go best-priced 23/5.
Tonybet’s 11/5 about under 1.5 goals in the match is worth a dabble as if we do see a goal, both sides are adept at shutting up shop.
If it does end 0-0, it’s likely the best goalkeeper in the world will have had something to do with it. 25/1 David de Gea to be Man of the Match (Betfair Sports) is a fun bet which should give you a run for your money over 90 minutes.
Here’s hoping for a richly entertaining 0-0 as we seek to get our World Cup 2018 punting off to a winning start. Best of luck.
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