Russia vs Portugal
Date: Wednesday, 21st June 2017
Kick-off at 16:00 UK/ 17:00 CET
Venue: Otkrytiye Arena (Moscow).
The pressure is on Portugal when they take on the host team Russia in the second Group A match in 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.
As expected, Russia kicked off their campaign with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Oceania champions New Zealand. They could have won by a bigger margin if they had taken their chances well. However, they sit at the top of the group with 3 points, helped by Mexico denying Portugal a win in the dying minutes.
There was little surprise in the second group A game between Mexico and Portugal. And both sides have little complaints after the match ended in a 2-2 draw. From Portugal’s point of view, they need to fix some holes in the defense as they were unable to protect the lead on two occasions.
Form-wise, Russia have now extended their unbeaten run to four games. Before the win against New Zealand, they defeated Hungary and drew against world-class sides Chile and Belgium. Definitely, this is a team in good morale and confidence.
While, the Seleccao have now failed to win against a strong team for the third consecutive occasion. If you look at their overall form since Euro 2016, there are 7 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses from their last 10 games. The wins came against lower European sides like Cyprus, Gibraltar and so on. While they lost to Sweden and Belgium and now drew with Mexico. It can be better put down as this team must improve a lot before being considered as strong favourites to win the group.
Russia: Team News
Stanislav Cherchesov have a fully fit squad at his disposal and he is expected to go in with the same eleven that started in the 2-0 win over New Zealand. It will be a flexible 5-3-2 formation, which can transform into 3-5-2 to push more players into the attacking front.
Russia: Predicted Starting Line-up (5-3-2)
Akinfeev – Kudryashov, Vasin, Dzhikiya, Zhirkov, Samedov – Glushakov, Golovin, Erokhin – Smolov, Poloz.
Portugal: Team News
Fernando Santos is likely to make changes to the starting line-up that struggled to keep possession in the 2-2 draw against Mexico.
We might see Bernardo Silva partnering Ronaldo in the attacking front at the expense of un-influential Nani. Meantime, Andre Silva and Adrien Silva are all pushing for a start, but have to satisfy with second half cameos.
Portugal: Predicted Starting Line-up (4-4-2)
Rui Patricio – Soares, Pepe, Fonte, Guerreiro – Andre Gomes, Carvalho, Moutinho – Quaresma – Silva, Ronaldo.
Russia vs Portugal: Head-to-head
Portugal slightly edge the h2h record with 3 wins as against Russia’s 2 in 6 encounters between the two sides so far.
It is worth to note that Russia are unbeaten in the three home matches against Portugal with 2 wins and a draw. Most importantly, Portugal are yet to score a goal against Russia in away trips.
Russia vs Portugal: Prediction
There is no doubt that Portugal have a better squad with a number of talented players at the disposal for the experienced head-coach Fernando Santos. Moreover, their bench strength is quite remarkable. The same cannot be said about the hosts Russia and their primarily depend on team work and collective contribution.
However, the real game is played on the pitch and Wednesday’s outcome will depend on who wants it more. Expect a tight tussle in the middle of the park and we are expecting the underdog Russia to get atleast a point from this game. At the same time, we are expected to see some goals as both teams were seen struggling at the back in their group opener.
Russia vs Portugal: Bet Tips
Both Teams to Score at 1.95 by Bet365
Double Chance – Russia or Draw at 1.86 by Unibet.