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Portugal vs Slovenia Predictions

Published on 7:00pm GMT 1 July 2024

  • 19:00
  • Expired
  • Frankfurt Arena
Portugal
Slovenia
  • BBC One

Portugal To Win To Nil

Reason for tip

Portugal looked solid defensively before rotating their side for their final game having already secured top spot. While Slovakia went through their group unbeaten, they failed to win any of those games and they looked shy on goals in a poor quality group. Portugal have plenty of attacking options to shade this one, so back them for a win to nil.

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Portugal 2-0

Reason for tip

Portugal don’t need a splashy display in this one and Slovenia didn’t give a lot away in the previous round, conceding a combined 4.1 Expected Goals across their three games. However, this is the strongest side they’ve met going forward and Portugal should be good for a couple of strikes.

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Bruno Fernandes To Score Anytime

Reason for tip

Bruno Fernandes has had the second-most shots for Portugal at this tournament behind Cristiano Ronaldo. The Manchester United man has a good international record and he won’t be afraid to keep going for goal, so he’s a good value bet to net in this clash.

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Portugal vs Slovenia Predictions

  • Portugal conceded just 1.1 xG across their first two games
  • Slovenia scored twice in the group stage
  • An expected switch to a 4-2-3-1 for Portugal should put Bruno Fernandes into more advanced positions

Potential worry for Portugal?

Portugal won their group within two games, allowing them to largely rotate for their 2-0 loss to Georgia in their final game. Cristiano Ronaldo featuring in that game looks like an odd choice for a player who was supposedly a changed man for his national side. Should the Al-Nassr forward be the only outfielder to start in each of Portugal’s first four games, questions will be asked of Roberto Martinez.

The Spaniard already has issues to deal with, as his Portugal team meet a Slovenia side who beat them back in March. The former Belgium boss played a 3-4-3 system in a 2-0 loss, with the central midfield pair of Ruben Neves and Vitinha not really convincing. Slovakia lined up essentially just as they do now, so can Martinez find a way to beat them?

Bigger tests ahead for Portuguese

Portugal haven’t been fortunate with how the bracket has panned out. They were seen as contenders thanks to being on the opposite side of the draw to France and England, but their half of the bracket now contains the French, plus Germany, Spain and Belgium.

There are significant tests ahead for Portugal and Martinez needs to settle on his best side quickly. He’s been tinkering a little too much with the side in the build-up to the tournament, including packing in three warm-up friendlies to test out three different systems.

However, Portugal progressed through the group stage with a solid defensive record. They conceded to the Czech Republic in their opener but their underlying numbers looked good, racking up an Expected Goals tally of 1.9 to their opponent’s 0.4. Holding a solid Turkey side to 0.7 xG in their second game was a real signal of how solid Portugal are. While their second-string struggled against Georgia, their starting back-four returns to meet a Slovenia side that has some issues going forward.

Fernandes to lead Portugal to victory

Slovenia made it out of the group stage unbeaten, drawing all three of their games. That’s how Portugal progressed in 2016 before winning the competition, but this looks like a bridge too far for Slovenia. Their tally of two goals was par for the course in Group C, but it’s hard to see them creating a lot against this Portugal side. The Portuguese conceded just six shots on target in the group stage and goalkeeper Diogo Costa has been impressive.

Meanwhile, Slovenia have relied on their defence for much of their results so far but this is the sternest test they’ve faced at the tournament. Portugal have a brilliant mix of attacking players and some tricky movement around the focal point of Ronaldo.

Martinez should move away from the 3-4-3 system he has used twice at this tournament given how that system struggled against Slovenia in March. A move to the 4-2-3-1 used against Portugal is likely, which pushed Bruno Fernandes into a number 10 position and got him closer to goal. The United man had four shots in that game and he has an impressive international record, so he’s a great anytime scorer in this clash.

Portugal’s mix of impressive forwards should put Slovenia on the backfoot, while Martinez has his team set up well at the back. Take Portugal to win to nil, with a 2-0 win my correct score prediction.

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