Hungary v Portugal
Thursday June 23, 2:00am
Cristiano Ronaldo grabbed the headlines on Saturday night as he missed his fourth penalty in his last five attempts and his struggles have so far been symptomatic of Portugal’s troubles as a whole. As a result of their failures to turn almost total dominance in their opening two games into a win they are now faced with a must win clash against Hungary if they are to go through.
Portugal have drawn their first two matches but the record of teams in a similar position at past major championships suggests a third stalemate is unlikely. Since 1990 there have been 24 final group games at major championships (Copas, Euros or World Cups) where a team had drawn their opening two matches and were also the higher ranked side and they’ve gone W14-D4-L6, with 15 of 24 having at least three goals. Moreover, where the side was ranked at least 15 places higher they’ve gone W11-D1-L3.
Portugal have lost to Russia, Bulgaria and England since qualifying for these championships – all by 1-0 scores – so their struggles in front of goal aren’t a complete surprise.
However, given the calibre of their opponents here and the domination they’ve enjoyed they should have done far better. In competitive matches against teams ranked 26th-80th since 2010 they’ve gone W11-D4-L1 but with just three wins by more than one goal, including none in their last 10 dating back to the 2012 Euros.
Hungary are the surprise leaders of Group F but they’ve lost all five of their past meetings with Portugal. They’ve also lost eight of their last 10 matches against teams ranked in our top 20, with seven defeats by more than one goal and 35 goals conceded.
So once again we should see Portugal dominating and probably several more chances for Ronaldo. Another nil-nil seems unlikely and if they continue to create chances the goals will come for Portugal. However, we prefer the Over 2.5 Goals market to the handicap lines as they certainly don’t look infallible at the back and there is a strong trend for the number of goals increasing in the final round of group games at major tournaments.
BACK – Over 2.5 Goals at 2.10