The 'Group of Death' closes out with a battle between the reigning European Champion, Portugal, and the reigning World Cup Champion, France, with top spot in Group F still up for grabs.
It’s a repeat of the 2016 European Championship Final on Wednesday when Portugal and France close out their group stages in Budapest. Portugal got the better of France in 2016, but it’s the French who see themselves as tournament favourites this time around. France will clinch Group F with a win and could still finish first with a draw. Portugal needs a win to guarantee a spot in the knockout round, but even with a loss it’s unlikely they wouldn’t at least qualify as one of the top third-placed teams.
Portugal vs. France Betting Odds
Oddsmakers are expecting a tighter defensive game, as the Under 2.5 goals is favoured at -169 and the Over is +131. France moves to -196 on ‘draw no bets’, while Portugal is +140. The newly minted all-time leading European Championship goalscorer, Portugals Cristiano Ronaldo, is a +480 favourite to strike first in the match and a +160 favourite anytime scorer. The favoured exact score is a 1-1 draw at +350.
There’s a lot to play for with Group F still up for grabs. Both teams could still finish first in the group, though France is being given better odds at +100, while Portugal is a +1643 longshot. France has already qualified for the knockout round and Portugal is very likely to join them, sitting at -10000 to advance. The French are +333 favourites to add the European Championship to their World Cup bragging rights, while the Portuguese are +900 to repeat as Euro champs.
After burying two goals and becoming the highest goalscorer in European Championship history in Portugal’s first match of the tournament, Ronaldo struck again with a goal and an assist against Germany. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough as own-goals from Ruben Dias and Raphael Guerreiro in the first half cost Portugal the win. With a loss against France, Portugal would likely still advance as one of the top-4 third-placed teams, but Fernando Santos’ side won’t leave anything to chance and will go hard for a win. It’s worth noting, en route to the Euro 2016 title, Portugal failed to win a single group stage match and became the first European Champions to concede four goals in a single match.
Injuries have dictated Santos’ lineup to a degree in this tournament. Joao Felix’s hamstring is still not well enough to go on Wednesday and Nuno Mendes’ thigh injury thrusts Guerreiro back into the starting XI, despite the own-goal gaffe against Germany. Look for Rafa Silva and Renato Sanches to rotate into the lineup at some point in the game, though likely not logging huge minutes.
Ronaldo will be looking to break an unfortunate streak and another prestigious record with a goal in this match. He’s never scored against France, but a goal on Wednesday would be his 20th World Cup or Euros goal, surpassing Miroslav Klose’s all-time record.
This match should provide a lot of insight into France’s resiliency. After a shocking 1-1 draw to a much weaker Hungary side, how will this squad respond? Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema and Antoine Griezmann all blew prime scoring chances against Hungary, although Griezmann did eventually net the tying goal. A win over Hungary will clinch Group F for France, so expect a much tougher and more focused team against Portugal.
France suffered a bad blow to the roster against Hungary. After subbing into the match in the 57th minute, Ousmane Dembele was withdrawn because of a knee injury that will reportedly keep him out of the rest of the tournament. After Lucas Digne was a surprise starter at left-back against Hungary, Lucas Hernandez should retake the position against Portugal. There’s also been reports that Benjamin Pavard and Adrien Rabiot could lose their spots in the lineup to Jules Kounde and Corentin Tolisso.
France has a tendency to bounce back from disappointing results with big wins. They’re guaranteed a spot in the knockout round regardless of the result, but with positioning on the line, there’s no doubt they’ll field the best possible lineup for a win.
Portugal vs. France Score Prediction
Portugal 1, France 2