There may be three games in the World Cup before we get round to this clash but for many Portugal vs Spain is when the tournament really begins, with two genuine contenders set to meet. In a fairly difficult group, with Morocco and Iran, the Iberian neighbours will know the importance of avoiding defeat in the first game.
Given that, concerns about the sides cancelling each other may be valid, however with the unbelievable attacking talent on the pitch you can see a lot of goals. The game will also be a chance for a side to send a statement to the rest of the tournament, which a convincing win would do.
Here we will give you Portugal vs Spain betting tips, look at where the game will be won, the key players and a Portugal vs Spain prediction for the huge encounter.
Our Portugal vs Spain Prediction: Portugal 1-2 Spain
Our Portugal vs Spain prediction tips is for the Spaniards to emerge victorious from a tight, exciting clash.
Group B is a very tough one, with Morocco having the potential to cause a few frights, whilst Iran are the dogged opponents you never want to face. Therefore, this game is vital and both European nations are sure to be up for it.
However, we think Spain’s additional quality all over the pitch will just about make the difference but it should be a very close match up. The attacking players on display are superb and you can never rule out a side with Cristiano Ronaldo, whilst youngsters such as Goncalo Guedes, Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes are ready to make a statement on the world stage.
Yet, concerns about Portugal defensively are valid, with Pepe an ageing warrior and his centre-back partner still not clear. Meanwhile, there are few obvious flaws in Spain. From De Gea in goal, to Pique, Ramos in defence, Busquets, Silva and Iniesta in midfield to Diego Costa or Rodrigo up front, there is a lot to admire. That should just about given them the edge and is why they are one of the favourites for the tournament.
Our recommended tip – Spain to win
Another reason to back Spain is the mentality of the players and that could be key in such a massive game on Friday night.
Most of the squad are winners, players who have lifted European Cups, La Liga titles, whilst some have won the Euro’s and World Cup for Spain before. They know what this is all about, have performed on the biggest stage and won’t buckle under the pressure.
That’s not to say Portugal will and they won a tournament of their own two years ago which will do wonders for their confidence but overall Spain are the more experienced squad and have that extra quality in key areas which is why we are backing them when it comes to our Portugal vs Spain prediction tips.
As you would expect, this has been a regular international fixture over the years and the game in Sochi will be the 37th between the sides. Over the years it is Spain who have had the better of things, winning 18 of those previous fixtures and losing just six.
As for their recent form, both head to Russia in reasonably good shape. Portugal have suffered the odd surprising friendly result but they qualified with nine wins from ten games, whereas Spain were similarly impressive in confirming their place at the tournament.
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Players to watch – Cristiano Ronaldo & Andres Iniesta
Ronaldo needs no introduction and the Spain players will know all too well how good the Real Madrid man can be, having suffered against him or won with him over the years. This is his final World Cup and one he will be desperate to deliver in and he should get the service. Portugal are an attacking team who play to his strengths, with a lot of energetic, creative midfielders determined to provide for him.
The midfield battle will intriguing on Friday night but the main man could once again be Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta. The legendary playmaker is leaving Europe this summer and this will be his last tournament but despite his age he is still the main man. His ability on the ball will help Spain control the tempo and he plays in an advanced role for the national team which will worry Portugal.
There are a lot of quality on both sides but these two will play the biggest part in deciding the outcome.