Portugal and Serbia are clashing in arguably the most interesting matchup of tonight’s World Cup qualifiers. These two sides will decide which one goes directly to Qatar and which has to fight its way through the playoffs. Portugal was denied of a win in Belgrade in the first game when the referees didn’t see a clear and obvious goal scored by Cristiano Ronaldo in the closing moments of the event, which provoked the best player in the world to throw his captain armbar and leave the pitch even though the game wasn’t over.
According to the bookmakers, Portugal (-195) is a clear favorite, but in the past two days, the odds have gotten longer and from -300 got down to -195. It seems that the bookies have some doubts about Selecao after their unconvincing performances in Ireland, where they saved its skin in the last 15 minutes.
The refs saved the Portuguese team in that one, canceling the hosts’ goal due to a foul on the goalkeeper Rui Patricio, which, to be honest, didn’t happen. That preserved Portugal’s edge over Serbia, as they can settle with a draw and one point due to a better goal difference.
Before a goalless draw in Ireland, the Portuguese team had five straight wins without a goal allowed in the latest three. As usual, they have high ball possession and try to dictate the tempo through that, while using fast and energetic forwards upfront.
Serbia (+550) had everything in its hands but played only 1-1 against Rep Ireland on the road, with a disastrous own goal in the finish ruining what could have been a match that sent them directly to Qatar. Though, Dragan Stojkovic‘s boys bounced back successfully after that posting four in a row.
Their opponents haven’t been that har, Luxembourg, 0-1, Azerbaijan 3-1, and Qatar 4-0, but they do have solid chemistry and the atmosphere inside the locker room. Two strikers, Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic and Fiorentina’s Dusan Vlahovic, are in excellent form, and they are, in fact, the biggest weapons of this unit, along with Ajax’s Dusan Tadic.
They really don’t have a pattern when it comes to the efficiency of their games. The Serbs are adjusting to the circumstances and respond in accordance to the rival’s playstyle.
Pepe won’t play for Portugal due to a red car against the Irish team, while Bernardo Silva has some muscle problems, and he will be a game-time decision.
Meanwhile, Matija Nastasic is out for the Serbs, as well as Darko Lazovic.
Head to Head Games
Portugal and Serbia played five times in the last five years, and this is the third time they met in one group stage qualifiers. The overall score is three draws and Portugal’s two wins. The previous match in Portugal ended 1-1 in 2019.
We would go with a moderate efficiency here, 2 or 3 goals, because of the fact that the Portuguese team didn’t look very convincing in Ireland, showing some weaknesses. Don’t get us wrong, the hosts are absolute favorites, but we still believe that a moderate efficiency is a better option than the full-time result.
Pick: 2 or 3 goals +105
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.