Portugal vs. Spain Prediction
One of the premier group stage matches of the World Cup happens on day two of the tournament today as powerhouses Portugal and Spain clash. Will the Portuguese notch the win or can Spain get past its recent drama to start the World Cup in promising fashion?
97809 Portugal at 97810 Spain
Friday, June 15, 2018
Fisht Olympic Stadium at 2PM ET
Public Betting Information
According to oddsmakers, Spain is listed as a +103 favorite on the moneyline. Portugal is set as a +290 underdog, while a draw is at +225. The total sits at 2.5 goals.
Ronaldo has weight on his shoulders
Cristiano Ronaldo is arguably the world's greatest talent, yet in the World Cup it has been letdowns the last two times as a Round of 16 elimination in 2010 was followed by an even bigger disappointment of a group stage end in 2014. Ronaldo was a youngster on the 2006 squad that advanced to the semifinals, but at this point that is a distant memory and he was a much bigger influence on the last two Portugal teams that flopped. A lot of that hasn't been his fault, however, with elite opposing defenses putting much of their energy into containing him and Ronaldo's teammates haven't been able to take enough advantage of the extra room to attack due to their star's presence.
Drama-filled week for Spain
One day before the official start of the World Cup, Spain national team head coach Julen Lopetegui for what it assumed was a betrayal by accepting the Real Madrid head coaching job and keeping it under wraps. An agreement between Real Madrid and Lopetegui was made to keep the news under wraps until after the tournament to avoid a distraction, but Real Madrid changed course after it feared the news was beginning to leak. In response to the coaching hire being announced publicly, the country's soccer federation stunningyly sacked Lopetegui. Fernando Hierro was appointed head coach and it remains to be seen how the news impacts a Spanish team that is the favorite to win the World Cup. To Hierro's credit, he assured everyone that he wouldn't change Spain's winning ways.
It is a heavy distraction for Spain to get rid of its head coach at this stage of the game and incredibly messy, but the Spaniards seem to love drama when it comes to their national team. With so many veterans on the roster, I don't think it impacts a whole lot on the pitch. Portugal should be able to get its six points to advance with the other two fixtures in this group, but I think Spain takes this one. Whatever happens, expect it to be entertaining between these two elite squads.
WORLD CUP DAILY PREDICTION: SPAIN +103