Portugal vs France
The standout tie of this round of UEFA Nations League fixtures takes place in Portugal on Saturday night, where the hosts and holders welcome World Cup champions France.
The teams are locked on ten points at the top of Group A3 and so this is a decider as well as the next chapter in an ongoing battle between two of Europe’s finest. Both France and Portugal sit among the top four likely champions, according to the latest UEFA Nations League 2020 betting odds, and the winner of this clash could easily become the favourite.
Portugal’s production line of talent
Fernando Santos’ team warmed up for this big match with a 7-0 mauling of Andorra, as Pedro Neto scored on his debut for Portugal while the old master Cristiano Ronaldo came off the bench to bag his 102nd international goal. At 35 Ronaldo is 15 years older than Neto, but the young Wolves striker is not the only star to recently emerge from Portugal’s youth ranks.
23 year old Liverpool forward Diogo Jota has settled impressively at Anfield, earning a starting place with the Champions and he already has three goals for Portugal in this competition. While over in La Liga, Joao Felix is looking better by the week in his second season at Atletico Madrid. Felix is likely to start up front alongside Manchester City’s Bernard Silva and I really can’t see five times Ballon D’Or winner Ronaldo settling for a place in the bench, so Jota may have to bide his time.
Another Premier League star could well play a pivotal role from the middle of the park.
Bruno Fernandes has been almost alone at times in his efforts to pull Manchester United away from the bottom half of the Premier League, top scoring and putting in a man-of-the-match performance last week as the Red Devils won away at Everton. United are likely to finish around the top four but, on current form, Fernandes should already be there.
France humbled by Fins
In contrast to Portugal’s hammering of Andorra, France’s second string suffered a shock 2-0 defeat to Finland on Wednesday night. Head coach Didier Deschamps is sure to bring back his best players to meet Portugal as the winner of this game can start to pack their bags for next year’s finals.
France have already beaten Croatia twice and Sweden once, as well as drawing 0-0 with Portugal, and Deschamps is likely to bring back captain and goal-keeper Hugo Lloris to his starting line-up. Jose Mourinho has made Spurs a hard team to beat, with recent 1-0 victories over Burnley and West Brom and Lloris is the first name on his team-sheet. And I expect to see Raphael Varane and Lucas Hernandez return to the back four in front of the Tottenham stopper.
In the midfield, Fernandes’ Manchester United colleague Paul Pogba could make a start alongside N’Golo Kante, while an injury to PSG’s Kylian M’Bappe means there might be a place for another Red Devil, with Anthony Martial in line to partner Antoine Griezmann, and Olivier Giroud an option from the bench.
A match between two such star-studded teams is bound to feature heavily in the weekend’s UEFA Nations League 2020 highlights, and here at SBOTOP we’ll be back on Saturday night (Portugal time) with all the action.
The head to heads favour the visitors as Les Bleus have won five of the last seven meetings between these two teams, with Portugal winning just one, but a big one, the 1-0 Euro 2016 final. Ronaldo was stretchered off very early in that game but France couldn’t take advantage, and Eder won the tournament with a low 25 yard drive past Lloris, deep into extra time.
The recent Nations League match in France ended 0-0 as Ronaldo had a quiet night and Giroud failed to force a goal for Les Bleus.
Recent form favours the hosts who are unbeaten in eight games and 19 at home, but we can’t read too much into France’s defeat to Finland and Deschamps will make wholesale changes as he seeks a sixth consecutive away victory.
|Portugal vs France||Over 2.25 @ 1.98|
|November 15, 03:45 (GMT+8)|
With home advantage and impressive form Portugal have the edge in this match at odds of 2.33, with France at 2.92 and the draw at 2.97.
At fifth (Portugal) and second (France) in the FIFA World Rankings these are two of a handful of nations which are expected to compete for the title in every competition they enter, and the UEFA Nations League is no exception.
France will be in Portugal to take the bragging rights back home and it’s sure to be a thrilling encounter, and I don’t expect another 0-0.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:|
|= €20 (Highly confident)||= €10 (CONFIDENT)||= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)|
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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