This is one of the biggest matches of the 2018 World Cup group stage and features two of the giants of European football. Read our match preview to find out Portugal vs Spain predictions.
Portugal come into the tournament as the European champions, having defeated the hosts France in the final two years ago. The tournament ended in disappointment for Spain, as they bowed out in the Round of 16 to Italy and they will be looking for a much better performance in Russia.
The fact this match comes in the first round of games in Group B means everything is riding on it and both teams need to win. What about group C, you ask? Read about its' first game between France and Australia here.
|Statistics for last 10 matches ||Portugal/Spain |
|Number of wins ||6/7 |
|Number of draws ||3/3 |
|Average scored goals per match ||1.6/3.2 |
|Average conceded goals per match ||0.7/0.6 |
|Failure to score matches ||2/0 |
|Team form (last 5 matches) ||WLDDW/DDWDW |
Every professional tipster makes his predictions after carefully analyzing both teams statistics. At Johnybet we know that very well! That's why we prepared a brief summary of the teams' last efforts.
As you can see Spain has no loses and one more win than Portugal. They also beat Fernando Santos's in Average scored goals per match. In last ten games, Spanish time without scored goal is 6 min while Portuguese 35 min. Probably that's why all the betting tips point to Spain being a winner. One thing may tip the scale in favour of Portugal is sacking of Spanish coach, Julen Lopetegui. Portugal vs Spain game tactic was for sure planned a long time ago, but their fighting spirit and morale will be significantly lower without their commander.
1. Latest updates
Portugal is very optimistic when it comes to upcoming World Cup games. With unstoppable Cristiano Ronaldo as their lead forward, who scored 15 goals in 9 games of the 10 World Cup qualifying games and won this year's Champions League with Real Madrid, they are afraid of nobody. Their self-confidence is for sure elevated by the fact they won Euro 2016.
Portugal's preferred formation is probably 4-4-2 with Cristiano Ronaldo and either Andres Silva or Goncalo Guedes as forwards. Center is likely to be covered by Caravalho and Mario while wings by Gelson and B. Silva. Fonte, Pepe Guerreiro and Soares will be the last bastion guarding team's goalkeeper Rui Patricio.
Their rivals Spain are significantly less self-assured considering they finished their 2014 World Cup at the group stage. When it comes to configuration, coach Julen Lopetegui is known to prefer a 4-3-3 formation with a holding midfielder at the base. Latest team news show that their expected preferred World Cup XI will most likely contain Manchester’s goalkeeper David De Gea.
Spain defence is made up by three Real Madrid stars Carvajal, Ramos and Nacho who will try their best to stop their teammate Ronaldo from scoring goals. Helping them will be FC Barcelona's Pique and Alba.
The hardest time the coach will have is while selecting his midfield. Busquets, Niguez, Koke, Alcantara, Iniesta, Silva, Isco or Asensio. Who is going to be picked to play against Portugal?
2. Favourites and odds
Despite Portugal’s success and Spain’s disappointment at the 2016 European Championship, it is the Spanish who come into this match as the favourites, priced at 10/11 with Bet365.
Spain were handed a tough qualifying group as they were drawn with Italy, the nation who knocked them out at Euro 2016. With just one team qualifying automatically, Spain knew they needed to win the group and held Italy away from home before defeating them comfortably on home soil.
Spain’s qualifying campaign shows a team in good competitive form and they won 9 of their 10 games, scoring plenty of goals in the process. However, it was the defense which excelled and Spain conceded only 3 goals in their 10 qualifying games and will be aiming to keep the Portuguese at bay in this match.
Portugal start the game as outsiders in the eyes of the bookmakers, with betting odds at 3/1 with Bet365 to win the match.
The pressure was always going to be on the Portuguese following their European Championship success and they started with a defeat in Switzerland. Fortunately, the other teams in the group were way off the pace and Portugal defeated Andorra, Faroe Island, Latvia and Hungary before taking their revenge over Switzerland at home to top the group on goal difference from the Swiss.
One look at Portugal’s successful Euro 2016 campaign shows a team who do not win things the easy way and they struggled to defeat teams. They progressed as the third best 3rd placed team from their group, defeated Croatia in extra-time and beat Poland on penalties in the quarter-final. They won just one match inside normal time throughout the whole tournament.
Therefore, perhaps a draw is the best the Portuguese can hope for from this match and its available at 5/2 with Bet365.
3. Portugal vs Spain predictions
There is no lack of quality in the Portuguese team and they have some exciting forward-thinking players. However, their defense is aging and they may need to come out on the front foot instead of relying on their defenders to keep them in the match.
This should lead to goals and Spain to win and both teams to score is 7/2 with Bet365.
With the potential for goals, as both teams go for the win and one foot in the Round of 16, over 2.5 goals makes a tempting bet at 23/20 with Bet365. What are Portugal vs Spain betting tips?
It goes without saying Portugal will need Cristiano Ronaldo to be fit and at his best to have a chance of winning this game but they have other creative talent coming into the team including Bernardo Silva, Bruma, and Gelson Martins.
Spain have many familiar faces in their squad with David De Gea, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta, David Silva and Isco all likely to start this match if fit. Looking for more predictions? Check out our piece about World Cup 2018 Betting Tips.