WorldCupAcca Confirmed Squad:
Keepers: A. Lopes, Beto, R. Patricio
Defence: B. Alves, Cedric, J. Fonte, M. Rui, Pepe, R. Guerreiro, R. Pereira, R. Dias
Midfield: A. Silva, B. Fernandes, J. Mario, J. Moutinho, M. Fernandes, W. Carvalho
Forward: A. Silva, B. Silva, C. Ronaldo, G. Martins, G. Guedes, R. Quaresma
Surprisingly, Euro 2016 winners Portugal have only actually qualified for 6 previous tournaments from 20 qualifying campaigns, their best finish was in 1966 when they finished in third place thanks to 9 goals from Eusebio.
They did not qualify again until 20 years later where they went out in the group stages at Mexico ‘86, this was followed by another group stage exit in 2002.
The turn of the century was more favourable for Portugal with players like Deco, Simao, Rui Costa, Luis Figo & of course a young Cristiano Ronaldo emerging, as a result they have qualified for every World Cup since 2002.
Other than a 4th place finish at 2006 though, the other tournaments themselves were something of a disappointment for the Portuguese.
Despite losing their opening game in qualifying 2-0 to Switzerland, Portugal had something of a straight forward time in qualifying in what was possibly the weakest group around with the likes of Faroe Islands, Latvia & Andorra they finished ahead of the Swiss on goal difference – in the next 9 qualifiying games they scored 32, conceding just 2.
Recent fixtures however haven’t been too encouraging, in their last 5 friendlies they have only won 2; a 4-0 win over minnows Cyprus and a 2-1 over Egypt when Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice in injury time.
They have also suffered 3-2 and 3-0 defeats to Sweden & Netherlands and most recently a 2-2 draw with Tunisia, though they were missing talisman Ronaldo due to him playing in the Champions League only a few days prior.
WorldCupAcca The Squad:
Rui Patricio continues to be Portugal’s number 1 with no real competition from Beto & Anthony Lopes.
Southampton’s Cedric Soares seems the likely choice to be starting at right back, though it was quite a strange one with both Nelson Semedo & Joao Cancelo not being called up. It’s mad that Pepe and Bruno Alves are still first choice central defenders at the age of 35 & 36 respectively.
The obvious candidate on the left of defence is Raphael Guerreiro of Borussia Dortmund, though he hasn’t had the best of seasons he offers a lot going forward and is a threat from set pieces, but don’t expect Cristiano to give up many of them.
There are some key players here who have had bad seasons for various reasons – Adrien Silva was signed by Leicester last summer but his documents were 14 seconds past the deadline meaning he couldn’t play until January.
Andre Silva got a big money move from Porto to AC Milan but failed to make any real impact other than some goals in their Europa League campaign and often found himself out of the side, Joao Mario was one of the stars of Euro 2016 but found himself loaned out from Inter Milan to West Ham.
4-4-2 seems the most likely choice here, Sporting CP’s William Carvalho & Bruno Fernandes should be in the centre with Joao Mario on the left looking to rediscover his best form, Portugal’s 2nd best player Bernardo Silva will be on the right wing where he has often featured for Man City and previously starred for Monaco.
Andre Silva will probably keep his place up front, along with, of course, the countries greatest ever player, their captain, most capped player and all time top scorer – Cristiano Ronaldo,
They have a few talented players in back up with the likes of Joao Moutinho, Ricardo Quaresma, Gelson Martins and Goncalo Guedes – though this still looks light compared to the likes of Germany, Spain & France.
WorldCupAcca The Group:
Spain are one of the outright favourites and should be winning the group, most likely taking maximum 9 points. They possess some of the best players in world football and have serious strength in depth that only Germany & France can match.
Morocco were able to qualify at the expense of Gabon, Mali and Ivory Coast, finishing their group unbeaten with 3 wins and 3 draws and not conceding a goal and have followed this up with winning the African Nations Championship earlier this year, beating Nigeria 4-0 in the final.
Carlos Queiroz’ Iran complete Group B, despite a great showing in qualifying finishing undefeated in their group with 6 wins and 4 draws, this group will be too much for them. They’ve only won 1 game from their 4 previous World Cup Finals, a 2-1 victory over the USA in 1998. They’ll do well to get a point here.
WorldCupAcca Betting Tips:
World Cup Group B Fixtures / Results
|Saint Petersburg – June 15, 2018 6:00 pm|
|Sochi – June 15, 2018 9:00 pm|
|Moscow – June 20, 2018 3:00 pm|
|Kazan – June 20, 2018 9:00 pm|
|Saransk – June 25, 2018 9:00 pm|
|Kaliningrad – June 25, 2018 8:00 pm|
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