It has been an eventful start for Spain in Russia with manager Julen Lopetegui being axed just 48 hours before Friday's game with local rival Portugal. Will this detriment their push to emulate the 2010 World Cup winning squad?
Spain currently lead the World Cup betting heading into the match but have drifted to around the 9/4 mark following a chaotic 48 hours.
Unbeaten in two years, La Roja looked to be on the rebound after disappointing at both Brazil 2014 and Euro 2016, only for drama to ensue. News emerged on Tuesday afternoon that coach Julen Lopetegui had agreed to join Real Madrid after the tournament and having not been consulted on the move, the Spanish FA decided to sack the 51-year-old on Wednesday and replace him with Fernando Hierro.
European champions Portugal are best priced 10/3 and like two years ago, are hardly fancied. Despite the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo, the current crop of Selecao stars are not as inspiring as previous vintages.
Under 1.5 goals at @ 9/5 - BET NOW
Both teams to score – No - @ 11/10 - BET NOW
Those looking at the World Cup tips for Spain v Portugal may well be expecting an open and exciting game due to the pair’s reputation for playing attacking football. However, that is unlikely to be the case.
Spain are unbeaten in 20, while Portugal have only lost inside 90 minutes three times in 25 matches since their Euro 2016 triumph. Fernando Santos’ men have built their success on solid foundations while La Roja’s possession style can often lead to limited chances at both ends.
The unexpected upheaval in the Spanish camp is only likely to add to the nerves on show in Sochi and it is worth noting that there has been under 2.5 goals in Portugal’s last three competitive games.
Recent meetings have also been tight between the Iberian rivals, with penalties splitting them in the semi-finals of Euro 2012, while they recorded a 1-0 win apiece in their two competitive meetings before that.
Iran and potential dark horses Morocco make up the rest of Group B and the teams will feel a win here could go halfway towards qualification, but just as importantly, they will also be desperate not to lose.
That could all add up to tense affair and this is unlikely to be one for the neutral.
Below are the result for the last six games games played by Russia and Saudi Arabia. The winners for each game are highlighted in bold.
Portugal 3 - 0 Algeria (07/06/2018)
Belgium 0 - 0 Portugal (02/06/2018)
Portugal 2 - 2 Tunisia (28/05/2018)
Portugal 0 - 3 Netherlands (26/03/2018)
Portugal 2 - 1 Egypt (23/03/2018)
Portugal 1 - 1 USA (14/11/2017)
Tunisia 0 - 1 Spain (09/06/2018)
Spain 1 - 1 Switerzland (03/06/2018)
Spain 6 - 1 Argentina (27/03/2018)
Germany 1 - 1 Spain (23/03/2018)
Russia 3 - 3 Spain (14/11/2017)
Spain 5 - 0 Costa Rica (11/11/2017)
Portugal predicted line up: Rui Patricio, Cedric Soares, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Raphael Gurreiro, Bernardo Silva, Joao Moutinho, William Carvalho, Brundo Fernandes, Goncalo Guedes, Cristiano Ronaldo
Spain predicted line up: David De Gea, Alvaro Odriozola, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba, Thiago Alcantara, Sergio Busquets, Savid Silva, Isco, Andres Iniesta, Diego Costa
The options provided by Easyodds when it comes to the World Cup odds give punters plenty to go at, especially those looking to compare bookmakers when it comes to seeking out the value.
For instance, with set-pieces often decisive in tight affairs, both kick-takers and those attacking the ball can be vital.
The perfect example is Raphael Guerreiro, the Borussia Dortmund defender with a wand of a left foot. Although Ronaldo takes the majority of his country’s set-pieces, the 24-year-old offers an intriguing alternative.
His difference in the anytime scorer market certainly stands out, with him a best price of 20/1, an offer punters will certainly be interested in considering he is as short as 11/1 elsewhere.
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