Iran take on Portugal in what is effectively a play-off with both sides hopeful of advancing to the knockout stages. It’s the European side who hold the advantage though, with Portugal only needing a draw to go through and Iran needing all three points. However, after beating Morocco and running Spain very close, Carlos Quieroz’ defence minded side will fancy their chances of holding firm and nicking a goal.
For the Iberian side, once again Cristiano Ronaldo will be the man to watch and after scoring four goals in his opening two games you wouldn’t back against the Real Madrid man delivering again. Fernando Santos’ men know a win by a bigger margin than Spain, who play Morocco, would also mean they progress as group winners and it’s something else that may be on their mind.
Here we will give you Iran vs Portugal betting tips, look at where the game will be won, the key players and a Iran vs Portugal prediction for the Group B encounter.
Our Iran vs Portugal Prediction: Iran 0-2 Portugal
Our Iran vs Portugal prediction tips is for the European side to have too much quality for Iran who will have to alter from their defensive gameplan at some point to get a win.
Iran knew as soon as the draw was made that they would be up against it so the fact they are still fighting now is a massive credit to them. However, it’s based on a solid defence, real hard work and great organisation which may not be enough in Saransk. They need to win and will need to adapt at times and they don’t appear to have the players to do so. As well as that, a third game in ten days for a side that put in so much effort every time they play is not ideal.
For Portugal, they haven’t impressed but they are in with a strong chance of progressing. They were lucky to draw with Spain and they were second best against Morocco last time out and they have four points because of one man – Ronaldo. He has carried them in an attacking sense and whilst keeper Rui Patricio and defender Pepe deserve honourable mentions, Ronaldo is the main man by a mile in this side.
Our recommended tip – Portugal to win
Despite their pretty average performances in the World Cup so far, the simple fact is that Portugal are far superior to Iran player for player.
And, whilst Queiroz’ men are great at stopping opponents, the reality is that they can’t do that against the Euro 2016 champions for the whole game. Portugal are more than capable of frustrating the opposition themselves and when Iran do come out to play they have the ability counter and the best goalscorer in world football. They might have to be patient but ultimately they should get the job done and if they get the first goal it will knock Iran’s confidence.
This will be the third time the two countries have met and the second time at a World Cup. Portugal have won both previous encounters, and won in Germany ’06 with one goal scored by a very young Ronaldo.
As mentioned, Portugal have stuttered recently but it’s nothing that will alarm fans. They did this on their way to winning Euro 2016, just about making it out the group and finding a way to win without playing well. That’s been the story so far in Russia and it’s the way they play under the pragmatic Santos.
Meanwhile, Iran have exceeded expectations by keeping their tournament alive at this stage because they were given a really tough draw. They will take heart from the way they pushed Spain all the way and will back themselves to go one better against Portugal. Defensively they are solid, organised and aggressive and that should keep them in the game for large parts.
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Players to watch – Cristiano Ronaldo & Karim Ansarifard
Portugal only need to avoid defeat if they are going to progress but they will back themselves to win because of the man they have leading the line. Ronaldo has four goals so far in this World Cup and is chasing Harry Kane for the golden boot and his pace, movement and ruthlessness in front of goal means he will fancy adding to his tally against Iran.
The Olympiacos attacker will be key if Iran want to keep their faint hopes off qualifying for the last 16 alive. He can be an aerial threat with his size and boasts decent movement. He arrives in Russia on the back of a strong season in Greece and whilst he isn’t a natural number nine in this team, his poachers instincts could be key if Iran are to nick a goal and eliminate the European champions.