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Ronaldo-Less Portugal and Poland Clash in UEFA Nations League Tie


Ronaldo-Less Portugal and Poland Clash in UEFA Nations League Tie

Poland vs Portugal

The upcoming duel between the defending European champions and one of the stronger footballing nations might not have the star power that it is supposed to have: one of the sport’s biggest stars will be staying in Italy as the Seleccao das Quinas make the trip to Stadion Slaski.

While the lack of manpower may put Portugal at a disadvantage in this UEFA Nations League contest, that doesn’t mean that this match will not have its own share of action and drama. Both sides have quality players thriving in some of the best leagues in European football suiting up. Moreover, a certain star for a struggling Bavarian team will be looking to correct his form here.

There are still UEFA Nations League news of managers expressing their discontent with the tournament, but there’s one thing we can all be sure of: these two nations will bring their A-Game to rattle the current hegemony in Group 3.

Talking Points

The biggest story in this game’s run-up is the absence of Portugal’s biggest talisman.

Cristiano Ronaldo is once again not called up by Fernando Santos and will be staying in Italy while Portugal will play Poland and Scotland in the international break. The manager also revealed that he will not call the striker up during the November break as well in order to let the Juventus star focus on the off-pitch controversies that are currently surrounding him.

Of course, not having Ronaldo around is a huge loss for Portugal’s attacking power. The 33-year-old might have slowed down a bit — he has only scored four goals in eight Serie A appearances for the Old Lady — but his importance as Portugal’s talisman and premier attacking option cannot be emphasised enough.

Fortunately, Portugal have plenty of quality footballers to help them put on a strong fight against Poland. If Fernando Santos builds his squad right, the Seleccao will have a great chance of putting causing an upset against Poland and firmly establish their place at the top of their group.

I think Andre Silva will be the most important man for this Ronaldo-less Portugal squad’s success. He made the only goal scored during their victory against Italy. Moreover, the 22-year-old is garnering attention from all over La Liga with his spectacular attacking prowess: he has scored seven goals in eight appearances for Sevilla.

Moreover, there are other top players ready to step up for Portugal. Rui Patricio, Pepe, William Carvalho, Bernardo Silva and Renato Sanches have been performing for their respective clubs this season and will be important players for this duel.

Of course, Poland will not be easy opponents for this Portugal team. While their first match doesn’t add great value to the pre-match Poland vs Portugal predictions being made, the fact that they have their star man playing up front for them is an advantage that cannot be denied.

Robert Lewandowski will be coming to this game full of purpose. The 30-year-old captain has not scored for Bayern Munich for three games now, and his especially disappointing performance against Borussia Monchengladbach has left the Bavarians in fifth place.

He will definitely be trying to bang in some goals against Portugal, and there’s no better way to do it than with the best footballers of his country in front of an adoring home crowd? I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a brace for this game.

Moreover, he also has a myriad of strong players to help him. Rafal Kurzawa, Piotr Zielinski, Lukasz Fabianski, and Grzegorz Krychowiak will be likely selections for Jerzy Brzeczek moving forward. If they just avoid conceding goals in the second half the same way they did to Italy and Ireland, they should be set to get the three points.

History

These two European powerhouses haven’t played each other a lot despite being highly ranked in the FIFA standings. The two have only played 11 games against each other, the first of which was during the 1976 World Cup qualifiers. The Bialo-czerwoni easily won away in Portugal, winning the game 0-2.

However, the Seleccao have had the advantage ever since, winning five of the eleven games they have played. They have also scored 14 goals while only allowing the Poles to score ten times on them. However,  they find it hard to score against Poland whenever they have to play away from their home fans.

Their last match, during the 2016 European Championship, does not put much difference between the two sides either. Lewandowski and Sanches scored their goals in the first half, and Portugal had to rely on penalties to help them get into the next round.

Betting Tip

Poland 1X2 @ 2.80

Portugal definitely have strong players on their side that can force an interesting competition against Poland, but the absence of a strong leader in Cristiano Ronaldo is probably too much for them to handle. It might be that Santos is trying out how Portugal will be able to play without Cristiano, and I fear that that will cost them the three points against Poland.

The SBOBET tips don’t put much separation between the two sides, but I think that home-court advantage and a highly motivated Lewandowski should be able to put them through the game.

There are also other interesting markets to bet on. For example, there is a big possibility that only one side will be able to score in this match. It would not be bad to bet on Under 2.00 Goals for 2.12, then. Total Goals of 0-1 is also available at 2.52.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.



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