The UEFA Nations League continues Saturday, November 14, with the marquee matchup between the defending European champions Portugal and the reigning World champs France.
With two rounds left to be played in the group phase, Saturday’s clash at Estadio da Luz in Lisbon, Portugal, could decide who’ll win Group 3. Ahead of their upcoming duel, Portugal and France are tied at the top of the standings, so the stakes are huge on both sides.
Portugal vs. France
Three-way: 1: Portugal +145; X: +210 Draw; 2: France +200
Spread 0: Portugal -140; France +120
Total 2.5 Goals: Over +120; Under -145
Both Teams to Score: Yes -108; No -114
The Navigators are coming off a 7-0 victory over Andorra in a friendly this past Wednesday. Their head coach Fernando Santos had a chance to try some new things along with a few players, while Portugal kept its net intact for the fifth straight outing.
In their first four contests of the UEFA Nations League Group 3, the Navigators have recorded three wins along with a goalless draw against France on the road. They’ve outlasted Croatia 4-1 at home and Sweden twice, 2-0 and 3-0.
Portugal has a 9:1 goal difference, and forward Diego Jota leads the way with three goals, while the legendary striker Cristiano Ronaldo netted twice in the process. Jota also has one assist, as well as midfielder Bernardo Silva and full-back Joao Cancelo.
- Portugal won six of its last eight games along with a pair of draws
- Only one of Portugal’s previous eight contests saw both teams scoring
- Eight of Portugal’s last 12 games produced three or more goals in total
The Blues suffered a painful 2-0 defeat to Finland in a friendly clash this past Wednesday. They had the ball on their feet for 68 percent of the time, but only four of their 23 shots went on target. The head coach Didier Deschamps cannot be pleased, for sure, even though he mixed his starting eleven.
As well as Portugal, France has won three of its previous four games in the UEFA Nations League Group 3. The Blues beat Sweden 1-0 on the road along with a couple of wins over Croatia, 2-1 and 4-2.
Forwards Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe are leading the way for the reigning World champs, scoring a couple of goals each. These two guys combined for 49 goals in the national team jersey, but don’t forget about the 34-year-old striker Olivier Giroud, who netted 42 goals in 103 caps.
- France won seven of its last ten games along with a loss and a couple of draws
- The Blues conceded in four of their last five outings
- Four of the Blues’ last five meetings with Portugal produced fewer than three goals in total
The first meeting of the season between Portugal and France was a hard-fought battle that ended in a goalless draw, while both teams took 10 shots each and had a ball in possession for 50 percent of the time.
I’ve mentioned above that four of the last five matchups between these two foes produced two or fewer goals in total. Both sides can count on some top-notch players, especially up front, so I expect to see some goals in this one.
Furthermore, the visitors will have to push forward in numbers and try to score. If they lose here or play a nil-nil draw once more, the Blues will be in dire straits. Portugal has a better goal difference, while both Navigators and Blues are expected to win in the ultimate round of the UEFA Nations League.
Only the winner of Group 3 will qualify for the next phase, so I expect France to take an attacking approach. With so many exceptional players on both sides, I would be surprised if someone records a clean sheet here.