Prediction: Spain vs Portugal – Football News

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Rating: Spain victory & under 3.5 goals

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Best odds: 17/10

Bookmaker: Unibet

In a real showdown between two European giants on Thursday night, Spain will welcome Portugal to the Estadio Benito Villamarin for their opening tournament in the Nations League.

Spain

Starting with the hosts, after seeing France lift the inaugural Nations League title back in October after a 2-1 defeat at the San Siro, Spain have managed to return since then. Finally on the cruise top spot in Group B after their World Cup qualifying race, head coach Luis Enrique finds that his team marks their return to battle in the middle of a four-match victory. Last seen back in March, when they claimed back-to-back 5-0 and 2-1 victories against Iceland and Albania, the European giants have also won seven of their last eight matchups across all formats. Looking to go a step further on their Nations League adventure this season, it should also be highlighted that the former Barcelona boss has seen his side only continue to shine at home. In a race dating back to a 3-2 defeat against England, Spain have been unbeaten ahead of their own supporters since October 2018.

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In what was a shock message, Barcelona star Ansu Fati has been included in Enrique’s 25-man squad for June’s Nations League matches following an injured campaign.

After taking part in Real Madrid’s Champions League victory against Liverpool last weekend, Dani Carvajal was able to rest here. Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta should start as a right-back.

Portugal

As for the visitors who will eventually manage to book their ticket for this year’s World Cup finals, Portugal will simply hope to find some momentum in the coming months. To secure what was a decisive 2-0 victory against Northern Macedonia in their promotion final, head coach Fernando Santos is still experiencing some pressure on his shoulders. But while last year’s shocking 2-1 defeat to Serbia could have almost cost them their place in another major tournament, it’s the only defeat the Navigators have suffered from their last nine outings. Similarly, while Portugal may not have booked their place in the semi-finals of the opening Nations League tournament, Santos’ team impressed many. As they only lost one of their six Group A competitions and fall just three points behind the final winners in France, the former European champions will be desperate to create a disturbance here. With a stacked team that includes a host of Premier League superstars, the Navigators might smell a chance.

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The Manchester United trio Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes and Diogo Dalot are all included in Portugal’s squad.

AC Milan’s attacking talisman, Rafael Leao, who claimed Serie A’s season player last week, should join Ronaldo in the attack.

Key factors to consider

  • When the two nations last faced a friendly clash 12 months ago, they played a stalemate 0-0 in Madrid.
  • Three of the last four meetings between the European heavyweights have ended with less than 2.5 goals.
  • Likewise, each of their previous three meetings across all formats ended in a draw.
  • However, Spain are unbeaten ahead of their own supporters since a 3-2 defeat to England four years ago.
  • Portugal has suffered only a single defeat on foreign soil since October 2019.

Conclusion

Although we may have a showdown between two European giants on Thursday night, they have a habit of making low-scoring deals. With a stalemate of 0-0 as they faced a friendly match 12 months ago, Spain and Portugal have now seen each of their last three meetings across all formats end in a stalemate. Likewise, since three of their previous four meetings have also seen under 1.5 goals at the last whistle, you should not be surprised by similar affair here. But with Thursday’s hosts now enjoying an unbeaten run at home, dating back to October 2018, we are still backing a home win for Enrique’s men as they open their Nations League adventure.

Rating: Spain victory & under 3.5 goals

Best odds: 17/10

Bookmaker: Unibet



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