Russia may have strode to a 2-0 win in their opening tournament match against New Zealand, but the host nation won’t be getting many easier fixtures between now and the end of the calendar year than playing the All Whites.
Ahead of our Russia vs Portugal preview, the Selecao drew 2-2 with Mexico, down to a last-gasp equaliser from Hector Moreno, who ensured that Cristiano Ronaldo and company would not take all of the spoils from a game in which they looked to be driven by the Real Madrid star alone.
Fernando Santos’ men have managed to keep clean sheets in three of their last five games, with it very possible that it could happen again down to their opponents being without many of their creative options. The tournament absence of Alan Dzagoev is a particularly big factor in affecting our Russia vs Portugal predictions.
With an own goal opening the scoring against New Zealand, before Fyodor Smolov made it two, it doesn’t suggest that Russia will be playing in free flowing fashion or creating a lot of chances. Portugal should fancy their ability to defeat the hosts, who have a much-changed defence since their last tournament.
Fernando Santos is unlikely to change too much from his opening starting line-up, although Cristiano Ronaldo did immediately get treatment following his man-of-the-match performance against Mexico. The Real Madrid star will be fit to play, however.
Given that the Selecao are by far the more talented side on paper, and have far more ability in terms of creating and putting away chances, Russia are unlikely to be able to maintain their 100 per cent record in Confederation Cup’s Group A, according to our Russia vs Portugal picks.
Tip: Portugal to Win: Bet365 (2.00)