Spain vs Portugal preview, betting tips and prediction
The Iberian Derby kicks off Group B…
Spain to win and BTTS @ 7/2 Betfair
Spain and Portugal clash in the first game of Group B on Friday night; it is the most eagerly anticipated group game of the entire World Cup. Both sides are steeped in footballing history, having both won tournaments in the last eight years, but they are also neighbours, so the added flavour of the Iberian Derby makes this game extra special and interesting. A number of players will be facing clubmates, most notably Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo just weeks after they helped Real Madrid to Champions League glory this season. Portugal have had better teams than they do right now, but under manager Fernando Santos, they are an organised outfit. His tactics allow the few stars in the side, like Ronaldo and Bernardo Silva for example, to win the games. They won their qualification group by winning nine out of ten games.
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Spain, under now outgoing boss Julen Lopetegui, who is set to replace Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid, are once again looking like potential world champions. The 2010 winners failed to get out of the group in Brazil four years ago, but Lopetegui guided them through a transitional phase. Their squad has household names in every position, and with the likes of Thiago, Isco and, arguably the heir to Ronaldo at Real, Marco Asensio spearheading their bid for glory, Spain could be in for a successful summer. We think they will beat Portugal, but it could be close.
Ronaldo is the most obvious bet in terms of goalscorer markets, but he will not bring much value. The likes of Gonçalo Guedes, who has had an excellent season in Spain with Valencia, and Andre Silva, who has continued to shine for Portugal despite struggles with Milan. The latter can be found at 7/2 to score anytime. For Spain, our tip is Isco at 23/10.
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