The most anticipated group stage match of the 2018 World Cup sees heavy favourite Spain play against defending Euro Cup champions Portugal.
Spain have never lost to Portugal at the World Cup and they’ve outscored their European rivals 19-4 in five matches on the world stage.
Portugal vs. Spain Match Odds and Betting Analysis
Date: June 15, 2:00 PM ET
Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi, Russia
Portugal and Spain are the favourites to be the two teams to advance from Group B to the knockout stages, but this match should determine which side finishes first in the group – and that’s no small consequence.
The winner of Group B will play the runners up in Group A (likely Egypt) while the second place in Group B will play the winner of Group A (likely Uruguay).
The Navigators aren’t in as good form as they were two years ago in France for the 2016 Euro Cup. Few of their best players, outside of Cristiano Ronaldo, are playing better now than they were two summers ago. Still, Portugal’s depth in midfield and attack is better now than at the European Championships.
Spain are a huge test though. La Roja are stacked in the spine with the world’s top keeper (Manchester United’s David De Gea), two of the best central defenders (Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos and Barcelona’s Gerald Pique), and one of the best defensive midfielders on the planet (Barca’s Sergio Busquets).
Portugal are 1-4-3 in all competitive fixtures against Spain with an ugly 6-20 goals for/goals against ratio. Spain topped Portugal 1-0 in the last 16 of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
There have been only two teams to be the holders of the European and World Cup trophies at the same time since the Euro Cup tournament began in 1960. Spain are one of those two teams and they pulled the trick at the beginning of the decade when they followed up their 2008 Euro Cup win with more glory in South Africa at the 2010 World Cup.
La Roja were forced to eat some humble pie after dominating the competition for four years. Spain won two Euro Cup championships and their first World Cup trophy from 2008 to 2012. They followed that up by failing to advance past the group stage at the 2014 World Cup and then getting eliminated in the last 16 by Italy at the 2016 Euro Cup.
Spain hired a new manager Julen Lopetegui and avenged the 2016 fallout by squashing Italy 3-0 in a World Cup 2018 qualifier. They’re motivated and have a healthy blend of experience and fresh blood in the squad.
Spain vs. Portugal World Cup Prediction
Expect Portugal to execute a conservative game plan for this match. They’ve be thrilled for a draw and Spain have some fit issues with their central striker – Diego Costa. Spain should prevail but the Under is the safest bet.
Spain 1 – Portugal 0