Portugal had a really bad day at the office against Germany, losing 4-2. They even went ahead after the inevitable Cristiano Ronaldo took his very first chance of the match after good work from Diogo Jota. They then proceeded to defend poorly and although Germany were good on the day, this is not a side who should be conceding four goals against anyone.
Portugal played the same starting XI for the first two games, but it would be a major surprise if Fernando Santos didn’t mix things up here. Renato Sanches might get a game and so might Joao Moutinho. Bruno Fernandes, brilliant for Manchester United the whole season is struggling and they need more from him, but he’s expected to start again.
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France only managed a 1-1 draw against Hungary and that has put them under pressure, too. With four points they’re in the driving seat in the Group but defeat here could change all that and though they understandably had the lion’s share of possession against Hungary, their finishing wasn’t too sharp and the goal they conceded was a tad sloppy. But they’re a quality outfit and are still very much on course to win the tournament.
RECOMMENDED BET: Back both teams to score at 1.9
Even though 0-0 would probably suit both teams, it’s unlikely to happen with so much attacking talent on the pitch. Sooner or later, someone’s going to score, and the other team will then have to go for broke themselves and that could lead to further goals. This could really end up being an end-to-end game full of goals, but the smart money is that we’ll get at least one at both ends.
Players to watch…
Ruben Dias had a good game first up against Hungary but wasn’t so composed and decisive against Germany. He was too often caught out of position and even contributed with an own goal, though that could obviously happen to anyone. If Portugal are going to get something from the game and progress, they need a big game from the Man City defender.
Time for Cristiano Ronaldo to shine. He’s more than done his bit already with three goals in two games but this is the match where he really needs to show, he’s still got it. It’s a huge game against a huge team and he needs to lead by example.
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Paul Pogba has had a bit of a mixed tournament and like Ronaldo, will see this match as a big chance to make his mark on the tournament. He’d love to have the chance to make some forward runs and get in some scoring positions, but he has plenty of defensive responsibilities, as well.
Kylian Mbappe has been lively but is yet to get on the scoresheet. He could do with a goal and should have a fascinating battle with Dias all game.
RECOMMENDED BET: Back Karim Benzema to score at 3.5
Karin Benzema is yet another big-name player yet to score but he should get a couple of decent chances in what could be an open game. He’s a slightly bigger price than Mbappe and his experience here could tell in a game like this. Odds of 3.5 are pretty generous on him getting a goal.
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