Portugal might be winless in their past three outings, but these were in the Euros against Germany, France and Belgium.
Excluding those sides and another elite outfit in Spain, the Selecao have won 16 of their past 18 encounters, with both exceptions coming on their travels, while they’re unbeaten in 12 as they’ve registered eight clean sheets.
Ireland are unbeaten in their past three outings, drawing twice with Qatar and Hungary and beating Andorra in friendlies. Prior to that, they were winless in 11 fixtures (D5-L6), with all but a 3-0 defeat to England coming in competitive action.
Scoring goals remains the biggest issue as excluding that clash with minnows Andorra, Ireland have netted more than once in just one of 13 matches now, drawing a blank in nine of the last 11.
Indeed, only three players in Stephen Kenny’s squad have more than two international goals to their name – centre-back Shane Duffy (4), wide midfielder James McClean (11) and striker Shane Long (17).
The latter is 34-years-old now and isn’t even a regular these days, with his last strike for Ireland coming back in 2016, while McClean has only netted once since late 2017.
Portugal To Win To Nil
Output isn’t an issue for their hosts as Portugal possess an abundance of talent up front to supplement star man Cristiano Ronaldo, with the likes of Diogo Jota, Joao Felix, Andre Silva, Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva emerging to help carry the burden.
However, the tactical blueprint that guided them to success in Euro 2016 remains largely the same, and they certainly haven’t forgotten how to rack up clean sheets.
Cristiano Ronaldo To Score Anytime
New Man Utd recruit Ronaldo may be getting on at 36-years-old, but he’s not slowing down in terms of his goal-scoring exploits for his country.
A productive Euro 2020 tournament saw him equal Ali Daei’s international goalscoring record and he’ll be keen to move outright into first place with another strike as soon as possible.
Ronaldo has scored 24 goals in 23 appearances since June 2019, while in qualifiers alone he’s bagged 27 in 20 outings since the start of the 2018 World Cup campaign.
PORTUGAL TO WIN TO NIL
CRISTIANO RONALDO TO SCORE ANYTIME