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Portugal vs Spain | UEFA Nations League Match and Betting preview 

At some point in the future, we’ll all look back at this year and remember Cristiano Ronaldo’s final days in football fondly. But while it happens, his fans will cheer for him loudly while his detractors will trumpet his failings as loudly as they can. Unfortunately, that is the nature of the beautiful game.  

Tomorrow, the Portugal captain will lead his team out against Spain with one clear goal: to lead his team to a win, solidify Portugal’s grip on first place in Group 2 and remind a watching world that while he has struggled this season, he still remains a world beater.  

Spain, on the other hand, have had a long road back to this level and will be quietly confident that they can pull off a World Cup win in Dubai this summer. Games like this are what they need to be winning if they’re to instill that belief into the hearts of their young squad.  

  

Head-to-head record 

In this fixture, both teams are evenly matched with two wins each. They’ve also split the points evenly 6 times.  

This tie also extends to their last five H2H games, which have all ended in draws over 90 minutes. The most-recent victory was recorded by Portugal, who beat Spain 4-0 in 2010. 

  

Form guide 

The home side have done okay recently, with three wins, one draw and one loss (D-W-W-L-W) while Spain have won two games, lost one as well and drawn twice. (D-D-W-W-L) 

  

Team news 

Despite being bang out of form this season, Cristiano Ronaldo will lead the line for Portugal for the foreseeable future and will start here, naturally. Joao Felix (Physical discomfort) and Raphael Guerreiro (Hamstring injury) will also miss tomorrow’s game.  

Expected Portugal starting XI: Diogo Costa; Diogo Dalot, Ruben Dias, Joao Cancelo; Joao Palhinha, Ruben Neves, Bruno Fernandes; Bernardo Silva, Rafael Leao, Cristiano Ronaldo. (4-3-3) 

  

After Spain’s home loss to Switzerland in their last UEFA Nations League game, Luis Enrique might look to make some changes even though the Spanish squad is 100% healthy.  

 

Expected Spain starting XI: Unai Simon; Dani Carvajal, Eric Garcia, Pau Torres, Jordi Alba; Rodri, Pedri, Koke; Pablo Sarabia, Ferran Torres, Alvaro Morata. (4-3-3) 

 

Key stats 

  1. Portugal have not lost in 4 home games while Spain have not lost in the last 5 away games. Either something gives here, or this will be a sixth straight draw in a row between these two teams.  
  1. Portugal’s highest goal scorer is, Cristiano Ronaldo (who else?) with 2 goals and 1 assist in 298 minutes while Pablo Sarabia tops the goal scoring charts for Spain with 2 goals and 1 assist as well. The Spaniard has done that in 279 minutes, however.  
  1. Portugal have scored 11 goals (2.2 goals/game) and conceded just twice while Spain have scored 10 goals (1.4 goals/game) and have let in 8 goals. 
  1. As you’d expect, Spain keeps the ball more with 70.7 % of possesion and 672.9 accurate passes/game (both League-best records) while Portugal average 54.2% of the ball and complete 467.4 accurate passes/game. Spain will dominate possesion and Portugal will look to catch their Iberian neighbors out on the break.  
  1. Portugal’s strength in the air is demonstrated by the number of crosses they put in/ game. The hosts top this particular category with 5.6 crosses/game while Spain complete just 3.3 accurate crosses/game. Ronaldo will be hopeful that he can head in one of those crosses aimed his way. 
  1. Both sides like to force mistakes high up in their opponent’s half. Portugal win the ball in the opponent’s final third 5.4 times/game while Spain has a slightly higher 5.9 final third recoveries/game. The actual numbers, however, are far superiors for the visitors who have forced 210 total recoveries compared to Portugal’s 116 final third recoveries. 
  1. Another area that Portugal dominates is “shots on target”. With 6.0 shots on target per game, Portugal leads in this category, way ahead of a shot-shy Spain who only average 3.7 shots on target per game. With a striker as potent as Ronaldo in the other team, Spain will need to be careful. Even if the Portuguese legend is currently not in form, the law of diminishing returns means that sooner or later, he will start to put chances way again.  

  

Our predictions 

Bet on:  

  1. Both teams to score @ 1.80 
  1. Over 3.5 bookings @ 1.34 
  1. Away team to score @ 1.38 

 

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