Portugal went down as possibly the least entertaining European Championship winners in history last summer as they beat hosts France in extra time in the final. They got to that stage of the competition having won just one of their six previous tournament games in normal time, but the trophy was theirs.
Since then they have shown a lot more attacking spirit, and despite opening the World Cup qualifiers with a 2-0 loss in Switzerland, they recovered very well. In the end it went down to the final game of qualifying, and a 2-0 win at home to Switzerland saw them qualify on goal difference.
This left Portugal free to experiment this month, organising friendlies with Saudi Arabia and USA and resting a host of their key players. The most notable absentee is obviously Cristiano Ronaldo, but that didn’t hold them back as they beat Saudi Arabia 3-0 courtesy of goals from Manuel Fernandes, Goncalo Guedes, and Joao Mario.
The hosts have now won six matches in a row, scoring a total of 15 goals in this period. At home they have won eight of their nine games since the end of Euro 2016, and their attacking spirits have resulted in a good number of high scoring games. In fact, only one of them has seen fewer than three goals, so we could be in for an entertaining match here.
USA shockingly missed out on World Cup qualification in October as they lost 2-1 in Trinidad & Tobago to finish a point behind Honduras in the Intercontinental Playoff spot. Now they look to rebuild after a disastrous campaign, and they have done so by naming a largely inexperienced squad.
That defeat to Trinidad & Tobago made it one win, one draw, and two losses in their last four games. There’s also the disappointment of conceding two goals against a side who had managed just five goals in their previous nine qualifying games, and now they’re facing a hungry Portugal squad. The hosts know that they need to perform to the best of their ability if they are to force their way into a regular starting position, so we can definitely expect a motivated performance here.
This should lead to another high scoring match, so we’re backing Over 2.5 Goals alongside a 3-1 correct score predictions.
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