Portugal vs Spain World Cup 2018
Spain and Portugal are the favourites to progress from Group B considering they have a substantially better pedigree than their group rivals Iran and Morocco. As their Round of 16 opponents will come from a below-par Group A, there is a sense that this match – likely to determine final group position – will be of little significance in their overall tournament finish.
Yet this is still a World Cup match between two nations that have a long rivalry, not least because they border each other. National pride is at stake and you would expect to see the strongest lineups possible when this one gets underway. There is also a feeling that there has been a shift of power now that the Portuguese hold the European Championship trophy, a title that only recently belonged to Spain.
This leaves us with a match that will be one of the best in the group stages. Both sides have a wealth of superstar players to call upon – Spain have arguably the best goalkeeper on the planet in David de Gea, while Portugal boast one of the best outfield players in the world in Cristiano Ronaldo. This is a clash between two teams that are capable of winning the tournament.
So how do we split them? Although Portugal look stronger now than they did when they won the 2016 European Championship, they may be lacking pace defensively with the likes of Pepe, Jose Fonte and Bruno Alves all in their mid-thirties. We saw how strong Spain can be in attack during the qualifiers, and the addition of Isco has us thinking they can turn back the clock to 2010 and win the tournament.
Spain haven’t started strongly in the last two World Cups, while Portugal were average in the beginning at the 2016 Euros. This will all be about which team can hold their nerve on the big stage and we are leaning towards Spain, who boast a stronger side on paper.
The top betting sites agree, and have listed Spain at around -113 to win this match. We believe the draw is also a good option at +246, while the +317 available for Portugal is excellent value considering they are the European champions and will feature Ronaldo.
We’d like to believe this one will feature goals from both sides as each contain excellent attacking rosters. 2-1 to Spain is our pick.
Portugal vs Spain Preview
Any team with Cristiano Ronaldo is a threat, and the goal-scoring Goliath is almost certain to leap ahead of Ferenc Puskás on the list of all-time international strikes at this World Cup. While he will be up against the best in David de Gea, you would have to be brave not to pick him to score in this match. His World Cup experience (13 matches) will also be vital as he leads his nation in Russia.
Bernardo Silva is also on the up, and has been great for Manchester City since his arrival. He is one of the more fresh faces in the Portuguese lineup, although his inclusion has if anything made the team stronger following their 2016 success.
Although Spain have been disappointing recently, they will field much of the same team that failed in the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 European Championships. It’s amazing what a new manager can do, and it looks like Julen Lopetegui has turned this group around – they were practically flawless in qualifying and have not lost a single match since he took over.
If you’re looking for individual contributions, look no further than midfield duo Andres Iniesta and David Silva, who will be crucial to ensuring Spain dominate possession in this match. Against an experienced defensive unit that may lack pace, their creativity will be the key to unlocking the Portuguese defence.
Goal-scoring markets fluctuate, and squad information will not be available until just before the match so check back regularly for updates.
Head to Head Alternatives
Spain are clear favourites in the head to head market, which may present a great opportunity to bet live on this fixture. Portugal have a tendency to score early, and if that is the case, a Spanish come-from-behind victory would present a great live betting situation. Patience and discipline is the key here, but if Portugal can get that first goal, Spain may move to over +200 to come back and win.
If you would prefer to place a wager prior to kick off, the pick of the markets is the ‘which teams will score?’ line. We’ve indicated that both teams have great attacking depth, and we’d be surprised if both teams don’t hit the back of the net. That is certainly the favoured option here at +105, although be wary that this has not occurred in the last five meetings between the two nations.
Similarly, the over/under market for goals is split at +119 for over and -154 for under. Just two of the last twelve meetings between the teams have resulted in more than 2.5 goals, although we feel as though this fixture will different, particularly as the last match between the pair was back in 2012. Go for the overs here.
Group B Betting Odds