Russia vs Portugal Prediction, H2H, Preview and Betting Tips 21.06.2017
The 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup hosts are set for their toughest Group A challenge when on Wednesday night, 21 June 2017, Russia takes on the European champion Portugal. This time “Sbornaya” will be boosted by the crowd at the new “Otkrytiye Arena” in capital Moscow , which is home of this year’s Russian champion Spartak.
On other hand Portugal covers distance from Kazan to Moscow after a disappointing outcome in closing minutes of their opening Confederations Cup fixture against Mexico.
H2H History: Russia vs Portugal
Russia and Portugal already hold solid head-to-head history after USSR’s collapse and most of their meetings are actually competitive. The only exception was in their latest fixture from 14 November 2015 when Russia won 1-0 after a late winner scored by Roman Shirokov at the “Kuban Stadium” in Krasnodar. It was the second Russian victory over Portugal after another narrow success reached in the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, when both sides exchanged the same score (1-0) in their home games. However, Russia did better in general and won the first position in qualifying group F while the Portuguese had to book their tickets to Brazil after a playoff against Sweden.
Before these aforementioned games in past five years Russia experienced some devastating results against Portugal. Two defeats and a goalless draw in that term, but unquestionably the 7-1 win of Portugal in October 2004 remains an open wound to Russian football.
Another defeat was at the UEFA Euro 2004 finals in Portugal where hosts used that game to revive themselves after a shocking defeat to Greece in tournament’s opening fixture. Final score in Lisbon was 2-0 in a match where Russian goalkeeper Sergey Ovchinnikov has been sent-off in the 45th minute. Thus Portugal was back in the big game while Russians were knocked out.
FIFA Confederations Cup: Russia vs Portugal 21.06.2017
Russia enjoyed a successful Confederations Cup debut last Saturday when Stanislav Cherchesov’s men won 2-0 vs New Zealand. Anyway, that was their easiest game and a warm up for the real battle coming from now on.
With many missed opportunities against a humble opposition Stanislav Cherchesov surely realizes this his players must show better efficiency and they will hardly have same number of scoring chances against Portugal.
On the day after, Sunday, Portugal went ahead twice but Mexicans were guts and never gave up for a second. Ricardo Quaresma opened for Portugal in the 34rd minute before an equalizer scored by Chicharito eight minutes later, but main frustration came in closing seconds. Right-back Cédric Soares scored for 2-1 in the 86th minute and when everyone thought Portugal will scoop the whole set of points, Hector Moreno found the gap in Portuguese defense by scoring a header in stoppage time.
Not the most suitable scenario for Fernando Santos and his squad but they still have two group games more and remain the big favourites alongside Germany.
Match Preview: Team News, Squads and Missing Players
Russia will seek another positive score and we won’t be surprised if Stanislav Cherchesov decides to switch formation. He started with a 3-5-2 against New Zealand but Portugal is a team from completely different caliber and with Cristiano Ronaldo on the pitch Russia must be cautious at the back.
A perfect example of his intention was Russia’s last friendly before the tournament – 1:1 draw vs Chile, when “Sbornaya” started with 5-4-1. Under these circumstances we might as well observe some changes in the squad and Dmitri Kombarov looks favourite to start as a left-back, while Yuri Zhirkov may sit on the bench. Igor Smolnikov can feature from the outset as a right-back but Aleksandr Samedov will maintain his starting position as a right midfielder. Dmitry Poloz, who started as a striker with Fedor Smolov, may be moved on the left wing and thereby Smolov remains the only striker.
Fernando Santos may also be tempted to make some rotations but not in formation. Portugal will stick to the 4-4-2 with Cristiano Ronaldo up front but we won’t be surprised if this time Andre Silva starts at the expense of Nani, who wasn’t so active against Mexico.
Another potential movement will be in midfield where Adrien Silva can replace experienced João Moutinho, who meanwhile chase his 100th national team appearance. Ricardo Quaresma looks keen to push through the right wing again but experienced winger knows his starting position is under serious threat by a presence of talented players like Gelson Martins and Bernardo Silva.
Contrary to all expectations related with a high average age of the centre-backs, we don’t believe Santos plans any rotations out there. Pepe and Jose Fonte should be ready to play another game and if Santos wants to rest someone from his battleworthy veterans, then he will probably do that against New Zealand.
Russia vs Portugal Predictions and Betting Tips
Portugal are favourites of the bookies for that game as “The Selecção” look more confident after winning the UEFA Euro 2016. Nevertheless, we shouldn’t forget they had serious issues to win a game in regular time and did it just once out of seven games on French turf last summer.
Keeping that in mind and fact that Russia relies on the home advantage, we believe that another draw seems to be a fair score for both sides. Fernando Santos should not be disappointed with a draw which would allow him to win over New Zealand and finish in top 2, whilst on other turn Russian coach will be pleased if his team avoids a defeat vs Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal.
In addition to our betting prediction for a draw (1X2), we will add the “Both teams to score” option, as well as betting on correct score – 1:1.
Possible Lineups of Russia and Portugal
Venue: “Otkrytiye Arena”, Moscow.
Referee: Gianluca Rocchi from Italy.
Igor Akinfeev – Igor Smolnikov, Georgi Dzhikiya, Viktor Vasin, Fedor Kudryashov, Dmitri Kombarov – Aleksandr Samedov, Denis Glushakov, Aleksandr Golovin, Dmitri Poloz – Fedor Smolov. (5-4-1)
Rui Patrício – Cedric Soares, Pepe, Jose Fonte, Raphaël Guerreiro – Ricardo Quaresma, William Carvalho, Adrien Silva, Andre Gomes – Cristiano Ronaldo, Andre Silva. (4-4-2)