Russia v Czech Republic10/09/2018 17:00
Portugal v Italy10/09/2018 19:45
UEFA Nation’s League continues with these two heavyweights battling it out on Monday night football. This is a rather tough game to call, as Portugal are without their talisman Ronaldo, and Italy are still in a transition phase under Roberto Mancini.
Portugal have a solid attacking threat on paper, with the likes of Bernado Silva, Goncalo Guedes and Andre Silva likely leading the attack. Silva may have flopped at AC Milan but he is in much better form for his country as he scored nine goals in ten World Cup Qualifying matches. Portugal also have solid midfield options in the talented Ruben Neves, William Carvalho and Bruno Fernades. Renato Sanches has even been recalled, but may no feature after declining in recent seasons.
Portugal’s issues come when you look at their defensive lineup. Pepe is still their first choice CB, what might have been okay a few years ago. The young Ruben Dias, who has impressed at Benfica, is his partnering Pepe, but could find it tough against world class opposition.
Portugal have only kept one clean sheet in their last past five games, and that was against Morocco. Italy have seen both teams score in their last five games in a row and it looks likely to continue here. Portugal scores on average 1.8 goals at home, but in their last five meetings, Italy have won four and Portugal only once.
Both teams to score has pretty decent value considering their recent inability to keep clean sheets, whilst still scoring goals.
Russia continued their brilliant WC form in a 2-1 win over Turkey in their first match of the UEFA Nations League. But, their form in friendlies is far from convincing. They have only won one home friendly since March 2017, with five draws and three losses. In that time, they have conceded in every home match with a total of 18 goals conceded in just nine home matches.
The Czech Republic have much better form in friendlies, with four wins, one draw and three losses in their last eight away matches. They have only failed to score in one of those matches though.
The only concern will be the young and relatively inexperienced Czech squad, but a Russian defence that keeps leaking goals will be the defining factor in their miserable friendly record.
Steven is the product manager on BettingLounge and is an experienced iGaming writer who has been working in the industry since 2018.