A flying start to his WLB career from Adam Goodwin (@AGJournalism). Here he shares his thoughts on Tuesday night’s Group B contest from the European U21 Championship between Portugal and Spain.
Portugal U21 v Spain U21 | Tuesday 19:45 | Sky Sports
Perhaps the most hotly-anticipated fixture in the tournament, Portugal head into this game high on confidence after their 2-0 win against Serbia.
Spain’s 5-0 thumping of Macedonia in their opening group game was topped off by a stunning Marco Asensio hat-trick, and Portugal could be in trouble if the Spaniards put in a similar performance tonight.
On this day next week, Portuguese fans will be celebrating the two-year anniversary of their 5-0 mauling of Germany in the U21 European Championship semi-finals in Sweden.
Germany went into the game as favourites, but they couldn’t deal with the pace of Bernardo Silva and Ivan Cavaleiro that day – and I think they might take a similar approach on Tuesday night.
Portugal weren’t outstanding in their 2-0 victory against Serbia but they got the job done, and there were stages of the game where they showed just how good they can be.
They haven’t lost a competitive game in 90 minutes since 2011, and were unlucky to lose on penalties in this tournament two years ago.
Macedonia won’t be the strongest team Spain will come up against but they can only beat what is put in front of them, and that’s exactly what they did.
A mesmerising attacking display, with Asensio stealing the show, but manager Albert Celades may be slightly concerned with Macedonia’s 24 attempts on goal.
It’s fairly obvious that Spain can dispatch of the smaller nations, but against some of the stronger teams, they’ve found it more difficult. They could only manage draws against Sweden and they scraped past nine-men Croatia away from home, whilst suffering a 3-0 defeat to them at home in qualifying.
Spain dominated possession against the Croats in both games but struggled to defend against them on the break. Whilst they may dominate possession against Portugal on Tuesday night, La Roja must be wary of the counter-attack that has punished them in the past.
The betting angle
I can’t see anything other than goals in this one. In qualifying, Portugal averaged 3.90 goals per-game with Spain averaging 3.3 goals per-game. And with the attack vs counter attack match I expect to see, it would lead to plenty of chances, and hopefully plenty of goals.
Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score is 23/20 at Coral, and I think that is a price well worth taking.
I also fancy Portugal to take at least a point from this game. Their form at this tournament last year probably should’ve seen them win it, and whilst they haven’t got some of the same players they did that year, they have some extra additions including Euro 2016 Young Player of the Tournament Renato Sanches and new PSG signing Goncalo Guedes.
It’s 21/20 with Bet365 for Portugal to win or draw.