A potential game-of-the-weekend clash from Lisbon gets us underway.
The defending Euro champions face the World champions once again after a 0-0 stalemate last month in Paris.
That was a game of two defences, with Portugal showing the kind of toughness which give them a superb chance of retaining their crown next summer.
They currently lead Group 3, holding off the second-placed French on goal difference.
But never underestimate Didier Deschamps men, who left it late to beat Croatia last time out in the Nations League.
And definitely ignore their poor performance against Finland in midweek due to an experimental XI.
When you can bring Kingsley Coman, Paul Pogba and Olivier Giroud off the bench, you’re never going to be far away in any game.
That 0-0 draw in the French capital saw just six shots on target, but you couldn’t split the two sides over 90 minutes.
50/50 possession, 13 attempts each, same blocked shots, even their passing stats were separated by just four (603 to 607, if you’re interested).
Basically, you can’t split these two and we wouldn’t be surprised to see another draw.
Just one of the last five meetings have seen over 2.5 goals and despite Ronaldo chasing his 103rd international goal, we’re not convinced this is going to be a goal fest.
Portugal have conceded just once in their last six matches – and even that was in a 4-1 thrashing over Croatia.
21/10 on a draw is definitely worth backing if the defences remain on top.
And for those of you wanting to play even safter, under 2.5 goals at 8/13 is the way to go.
Ronaldo was rested from the start against Andorra in midweek as he recovers from a dose of Covid-19 – and still found time to bag his 102nd international goal from the bench.
He’s evens to net anytime – an excellent price and very easy to back.
Kick off? 1.15 AM IST – November 15 in India
Being played? Estádio Nacional
France and Portugal have faced each other 26 times before, with the French winning 18 of those matches. Portugal have beaten France six times, with two games between these sides ending in draws.
Portugal form guide: W-W-D-D-W
France form guide: L-W-D-W-W
Most of the team that started Portugal’s friendly win against Andorra is likely to make way for the regulars, with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Joao Felix set to spearhead the Portuguese attack.
There are doubts for France over the fitness of the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez.
Doubtful: Kylian Mbappe, Benjamin Pavard
- Portugal are unbeaten in each of their last two meetings with France (W1 D1), after losing each of the 10 previous fixtures between the two sides.
- The 2-0 defeat Finland, the first France suffered on home soil since March 2018, ended a 12-match unbeaten run for them dating back to June 2019.
- Portugal have not faced defeat in any of their last six competitive games (W5 D1). Meanwhile, France are on an 12-game unbeaten run (W10 D2) in competitive settings.
- France were victorious their only previous game at the Estadio do SL Benfica: a 2-1 win over England at UEFA Euro 2004.
- France have won their last five away matches with four clean sheets, while Portugal have not been beaten at home since March 2017.
Portugal Predicted XI (4-3-3): Rui Patricio; Joao Cancelo, Ruben Dias, Ruben Semedo, Raphael Guerreiro; Ruben Neves, William Carvalho, Bruno Fernandes; Bernardo Silva, Joao Felix, Cristiano Ronaldo
France Predicted XI (4-3-1-2): Hugo Lloris; Leo Dubois, Raphael Varane, Clement Lenglet, Lucas Hernandez; N’Golo Kante, Paul Pogba, Corentin Tolisso; Antoine Griezmann; Anthony Martial, Olivier Giroud
Portugal 2-1 France
This one has all the makings of being a close contest yet again. However unlike the reverse fixture last month, there should be goals in the game, with very little separating the two sides. France, though, have an air of instability in their squad owing to the recent loss to Finland and the multiple issues that have plagued the squad already.
Kylian Mbappe’s potential absence is also a big blow to France’s hopes, whereas Portugal will likely be at full strength and come into this game buoyed following their big win over Andorra. So, for all intents and purposes, it looks like the hosts have the slightest of edges to consolidate their place atop Group 3 of the UEFA Nations League A and we predict a 2-1 Portugal win in Lisbon.