It’s all to play for in Group B with first and second still to be confirmed. With Spain and Portugal expected to qualify with relative ease, there is still a possibility that one of these two heavyweight countries could be exiting the tournament at the expense of surprise package Iran.
Iran know a win against Portugal will guarantee safe passage to the Round of 16 for the first time in their history.
Where and when: Mordovia Arena – 25 June, kick-off 19:00
Where you can see Iran vs. Portugal: BBC
Last time: The two nations last met at the 2006 World Cup held in Germany. Portugal ran out comfortable 2-0 winners after second-half goals from Deco and Cristiano Ronaldo.
|Iran to come from behind and draw||8/1||Offer|
|Portugal to win 3-0||17/2||Offer|
|Both teams to score||8/7||Offer|
Iran v Portugal Predictions and Preview
Competition top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo was typically the difference in Portugal’s last game against Morocco. The Real Madrid legend has four goals to his name and will be licking his lips at the prospect of adding to his personal tally.
The 33-year-old will line-up through the middle and while the likes of Neymar, Lionel Messi and Mesut Ozil have so far flattered to deceive, Ronaldo continues to perform at an extraordinary level despite being significant older than his fellow star cast. The Seleção skipper has also elevated his team-mates who offer the platform for Ronaldo to play to his best abilities.
Holding midfielder William Carvalho is one of a handful of unsung heroes in the team and the giant Sporting Lisbon man rarely puts a foot wrong in front of the defence. Portugal are 8/13 to earn a second win from three fixtures while Ronaldo is 13/10 to hit the back of the net anytime during the encounter.
Opponents Iran are still in contention after two accomplished performances. The dramatic last minute winner against Morocco, coupled with Spain and Portugal’s six-goal thriller has given Carlos Queiroz’s men a chance, despite the eventual loss to the 2010 victors.
Iran demonstrated immense resilience against Spain, particularly in the first-half, frustrating their more esteemed challengers who had to wait until after the restart to eventually break the deadlock.
Queiroz will meet some familiar faces and none more so than Ronaldo who he saw develop first hand. The duo were together at Manchester United, Real Madrid and also with Portugal, and it promises to be a fascinating duel between the compatriots. Iran are 9/2 to achieve a momentous win and continue their experience in Russia.
One to watch for Iran: Rubin Kazan forward Sardar Azmoun has a mightily impressive 23 efforts for his country and is expected to occupy the lone striker role for the third match in succession. Azmoun is 18/1 to open the scoring and won’t make it easy for veterans Pepe and Jose Fonte.
One to watch for Portugal: Bernardo Silva is now a regular in the national team and will flank talisman Ronaldo. The Manchester City winger is 13/2 to strike first and open his account in the tournament.
Long shot: Queiroz will have watched his countrymen against Morocco and has reason to be encouraged. The North Africans had a host of chances, particularly in the second-half, and deserved to come away with at least a share of the spoils. Iran, of course, beat Morocco in the opening group match and a shock 3-1 win against the EURO 2016 winners is a whopping 110/1.