Stadium: Estadio Algarve (Faro).
The Portuguese national team have only beaten Ireland in one of their last four outings. Will Steven Kenney's side be able to foul the favourites again? We predict that the Portuguese will not stand a chance.
Portugal approach UEFA EURO 2020 as the reigning continental champions. From the very first match of the tournament, Fernando Santos's side failed to do well as they managed to beat Hungary 3-0 but only scored in the closing stages. Then, they were defeated by Germany 2-4, and in the battle with France, they snatched a draw 2-2. In the first round of the play-offs, the Portuguese were defeated by Belgium 0-1, leaving the title of the European champion. Their World Cup 2022 qualifying campaign started much better. They beat Azerbaijan and Luxembourg 1-0 and 3-1, respectively, and then shared points with Serbia 2-2, finishing at the top of the group.
The Irish national team were not qualified for UEFA EURO 2020. However, they had a realistic chance of qualifying via the UEFA Nations League but lost 0-1 to Slovakia in the semi-final. The defeat must have knocked the Greens out as they crashed out of the next round of the tournament, picking up three points from six games, before their qualification for the 2022 World Cup collapsed as well. At first, Stephen Kenny's side lost to Serbia 2:3, which is understandable, but then suffered a 0-1 defeat at the hands of Luxembourg. By the end of the second round of qualifying, it is clear that the Irish have no realistic chance of making it through to Qatar, even if they will tear themselves apart in future games, clinging to points at all times.
History of head-to-head encounters between Portugal and Ireland
The teams have played 13 head-to-head games in their history. The Portuguese have won seven games, while the Irish have been stronger in four. The goal difference is also on the side of the home side in the upcoming match - 20:10. The last time the two sides met was in 2014 when the Portuguese players celebrated a 5-1 victory in a friendly game.
Expert Betting Tips
If you look at the statistics for the Portugal-Ireland encounter, you might be horrified, as the favourites have only managed to win one fixture in the last four. It's all down to the fact that they were played years ago, and now the Portuguese are a much tougher team than the Irish. Fernando Santos' side failed to produce a superb result at UEFA EURO 2020, but they have a powerful group, and the Greens are in crisis at the moment. As a result, we are forced to bet on a Portuguese victory with a handicap (-2.5) at odds of about 2.61.
Even in the unfortunate Euro 2020, the Portuguese national team in the most challenging group managed to score seven goals in three games (2.33 on the average per game), which is an excellent indicator that confirms the superb shape of the attacking line of the team. The Irish national team has serious defensive problems, as seen from their opening games in the World Cup 2022 qualifying. They conceded three goals to Serbia and then allowed a goal to Luxembourg. With that in mind, Individual Total 1 Over 2.5 goals at odds close to 2.19 seems like the best option.
While Cristiano Ronaldo has been busy moving from Juventus to Manchester United, who missed the last round and did not have time to regain his game after the off-season, his teammate Bruno Fernandes is expected to show leadership qualities. The Portuguese midfielder has a superb start at Old Trafford, having netted 43 goals in 81 official appearances and notching up a hat-trick in his first UEFA Champions League outing this season. The 26-year-old is in great form, so a bet on Bruno Fernandes' goal is worth considering at odds of around 3.00.