Group B: Portugal World Cup Betting Odds & Tips
European champions Portugal will head to Russia seeking to emulate their Iberian neighbours Spain, who followed a Euro 2008 win by winning their first ever Word Cup in South Africa two years later.
Portugal downed hosts France in Paris at the 2016 Euros to finally win a major international tournament for the first time. As fate would have it, their opening Group B game in Sochi on June 15 will see them square off against none other than nearest neighbours Spain in perhaps the marquee game of the opening round.
The European heavyweights are joined in Group B by potential tournament surprise packages Morocco and Iran. Portugal will face the African nation in the Russian capital on June 20 before rounding off their group stage with a trip to Saransk to face Iran five days later.
Captain and talisman Cristiano Ronaldo has long been the inspiration for this generation of Portuguese footballers and his presence in Russia will be key to their chances. It was impressive however that Fernando Santos’ side overcame France in Paris in the Euro 2016 decider despite the early injury that forced their captain off.
Any team with Real Madrid superstar Ronaldo on the field commands respect. Despite the fact that he will be 33-years-old come the summer, Portugal’s all-time leading goal scorer retains the ability to be a game-changer, especially in international tournament football where the margins are wafer thin.
Having won the Euros, Portugal were given a shock in their opening 2018 World Cup qualifier as they lost 2-0 to Switzerland in Basel. Thereafter, Santos’ men navigated a perfect path to Russia, winning nine games on the bounce, scoring an impressive 32 goals and conceding only two.
With the pressure on, they defeated the Swiss 2-0 in Lisbon in their final game to book their World Cup spot. Portugal will be cursing their luck to have found Spain in their group.
Four years ago in Brazil they were drawn to face eventual winners Germany in their opener. A heavy 4-0 loss in that game left them struggling and it was almost curtains before they grabbed a last-gasp draw with the USA in their second game.
They’ll feel they owe Spain one, having also lost to the eventual winners in the last-16 of the 2010 World Cup in Cape Town. Portugal are 4.00 to defeat Spain in their Group B opener on June 15, while they are priced at 29.00 to lift the World Cup trophy in the Luzhniki Stadium a month later.