Last updated & checked: 10/08/2021
Serbia, who have endured a somewhat inconsistent qualifying campaign so far, welcome Portugal to Belgrade on Saturday evening, for what should be an interesting Group B qualifying clash. In their three group games so far, the Serbs have drawn away in Portugal, been thrashed 5-0 by the Ukraine, and beaten Lithuania 4-1. The quality in their squad, with players like Aleksandar Mitrovic and Dusan Tadic in the line-up, suggests that they have underachieved so far in the group.
Portugal return to action for the first time since they beat Netherlands 1-0 in the UEFA Nations League final back in June. Their qualifying campaign is yet to really ignite, though, with them having taken just two points from their two games so far.
Serbia vs Portugal Prediction: Serbia 1-2 Portugal
Given Serbia’s inconsistency, we suspect that this game will end in a victory for Portugal. Given the fact that Portugal have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to midfield and attack, plus the ever-present threat that Cristiano Ronaldo provides, we suspect that it will be the away team who emerge triumphant from the evening. It will be a tough test for Fernando Santos’s team, but their attacking power should be enough to overcome the Serbs in the end. Serbia are never an easy prospect at home, though, and should score at least once.
Our recommended tip: [two to three words describing the tip]
Our featured tip for this game comes from Betway, who are offering odds of 7/2 on Portugal winning the game and both teams scoring. This bet matches our prediction of a 2-1 away win perfectly, while also giving you a little bit of flexibility when it comes the precise final scoreline. We suspect that Portugal’s attack will turn out to be too strong for the Serbs’ defence in the end, and even a passionate home crowd will not be enough to spur the Serbs on to victory. A Cristiano Ronaldo goal would be no surprise either.
These two countries have played each other on five previous occasions. Portugal have never lost in those five games, having won twice and drawn three times. Their last meeting was in Group B in March in Lisbon. The game ended in a 1-1 draw, with Portugal having to come back from a goal down after Dusan Tadic opened the scoring with a seventh minute penalty kick. Danilo produced an equaliser for the home side just three minutes before the half-time break. The two teams previous meeting to that came in qualifying for Euro 2016, when Portugal won both games.
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Players to watch: Aleksandar Mitrovic & Cristiano Ronaldo
If Serbia are to get anything out of this game they will need their attacking players to be on top form. One of those is, of course, Aleksandar Mitrovic of Fulham, who has already scored five goals in the Championship this season for the Cottagers. A combative and aggressive striker who can hold the ball up well, he is a very hard man for defenders to handle at times.
When it comes to watching Portugal, it is hard to take one’s eyes on their talismanic forward Cristiano Ronaldo. The Juventus forward has scored 88 goals in 158 games for his country, with only Iran’s Ali Daei having scored more at international level. The former Manchester United man offers so many different threats it is impossible to list them all here. Of course, in close games set-pieces are often vital, and Ronaldo knows how to find the net from deadball situations.