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It looks to be a straight shootout between these two sides for the top spot in League A3. Portugal head the table on goal difference, though given the UEFA Nations League rules of head-to-head matchups overriding overall goal difference, that makes this one all the more important.
Indeed, they drew 0-0 in France in their last meeting and so any type of goal scoring stalemate would see France top the table assuming they both win the rest of their matches against Croatia and Sweden, but with this being played in Lisbon, you’d have to give the slight edge to Fernando Santos’ men.
Draw and Under 2.5 Goals
The Portuguese have been fairly unstoppable in recent times having won the last edition of this tournament in their home country, beating Switzerland in the semis and the Netherlands in the final, while although they could only manage second place in their European qualification group, they still remained unbeaten at home.
In fact, they’ve won an impressive seven of their 12 unbeaten outings in Portugal since September 2018 prior to this international break, as they faced the likes of Croatia, Italy, Poland, Switzerland, Netherlands and Spain.
Against such teams, they may have gone a positive W4-D3, but six of those saw few than three strikes and the most recent of them against Spain finished 0-0, and so we’d expect this one to be another close encounter.
Les Bleus have also been hitting the headlines with their impressive results. Indeed, other then a shock defeat to Turkey back in June last year, they’ve won 14 of their other 16 unbeaten outings dating back to late November 2018 (prior to this international break), although the majority of those games did come against much weaker opposition.
In fact, against the top sides they’ve come across since the start of their World Cup winning campaign in Russia (Peru, Denmark, Argentina, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Iceland, Uruguay, Turkey, Sweden, Croatia and Portugal), they’ve gone W13-D5-L2 from their 20 such outings.
Over half of those saw fewer than three goals, while outside of France against those sides, nine of 12 have gone under that mark, as their results have unsurprisingly been worse.
One goal margin victories over Croatia, Sweden and Iceland is hardly the sort of form you need to overcome this Portuguese outfit, while their toughest road games since the World Cup have come in Holland and Germany, losing the former 2-0 and drawing the latter 0-0.
Cristiano Ronaldo To Score Anytime
Both teams are littered with exceptional talent and it looks set to be an absolute cracker, even if goals will be hard to come by. However, when it comes to international football no player quite compares to that of Cristiano Ronaldo.
The captain has scored 16 goals from his 10 competitive matches for his home nation since the 2019 UEFA Nations League knockouts, including seven in four in Portugal over that period.
To further the case for him to score, he’s netted in both games for Juventus on his return from testing positive for Covid-19, including a double in the 34 minutes he was on to put his club ahead against Spezia, and he looks an absolute shoo-in to add to his international goals tally this weekend.