Portugal v Sweden Match Preview and Betting Tips
March 24, 2017
Tuesday 28 March – Estadio dos Barreiros – Friendly
Don’t be fooled by its billing as a friendly. Sweden will be out to avenge World Cup 2014 qualification heartbreak and Portugal are in desperate need of a pick-me-up after several unconvincing displays since their win in Paris last summer.
Portugal and Sweden have met 17 times in history, and have encountered each other in qualifying for the previous two World Cups. Sweden haven’t beaten Tuesday’s hosts since 1984, but surprisingly have a narrowly positive record against Portugal, winning six and losing five.
As always, all eyes will be on Cristiano Ronaldo as he appears set to make his 137th cap for Portugal, taking him ten clear of Luis Figo. The Real Madrid forward may be entering the final stretch of his international career, but not to fret as bright young stars Bernardo Silva and Gelson Martins have also gotten the call after several strong displays in club competition.
Sweden may have few big stars to speak of, but their unknown quantity status makes them unpredictable. Tolouse partners Ola Toivonen and Jimmy Durmaz look set to start and will have a strong connection in the final third, while starlet and vice-captain Victor Lindelof will lead from the back, and will also know a lot of the Portugal team well, playing his club football for Liga NOS champions Benfica.
Portugal vs Sweden Preview and Predictions
There may be no Zlatan Ibrahimovic to give the feel of a clash of the titans match-up with Cristiano Ronaldo, but Sweden have been adapting well since the retirement of their greatest ever forward.
However, they are still very much seen as underdogs with their victory priced at 63/10, which is generous considering they demolished Slovakia 6-0 on their last international outing. Portugal meanwhile can be found at 4/7 to win, echoing their heavy favourite status.
However, Cristiano and co. have failed to live up to the billing of European champions. They may have eased past minnows Andorra, Latvia and the Faroe Islands, but they were comprehensively outplayed by Switzerland in September in a 2-0 defeat, and Sweden will be the first side of real substance to stand against them since.
But it remains likely to be a low scoring affair, and even though a 0-0 scoreline seems improbable, odds of 9/1 make it tempting. Both sides have World Cup qualifiers prior to Tuesday’s friendly meeting, which gives both coaches a chance to rotate after crunch ties.
Although energy conservation and squad rotation usually leads to a stalemate, neither side has a reputation for sitting back, so expect goals.
Teams to draw at 31/10
With no competitive edge and coming directly after a qualifier, the only prize will be pride. Fringe players will likely get a chance to show what they can do, so an entertaining draw seems most likely.
2-2 Draw at 20/1
It may seem like a long-shot, but it has a surprising amount of logic behind it. Both sides attack, neither defend very well and there is no reason to push hard for a win. 3-3 seems like too much, but both sides finding the net twice is entirely possible.