Nations League title holders Portugal begin their defence against Croatia. The Seleção beat Holland in the final of the inaugural competition and have enjoyed a golden period on the international stage over the last four years. Group 3 promises to be must watch with World Cup winners France and Sweden also in the mix.
Where and when: Estádio do Dragão, Porto – 5 September, kick-off 19:45
Where you can see Portugal vs. Croatia: Sky Sports
Cristiano Ronaldo headlines Fernando Santos’ squad and is close to capturing yet another record. The Juventus talisman is on 99 goals for his country and remains as hungry as ever for both personal and collective accolades. The 35-year-old will line up from the left flank and is 11/4 favourite to open proceedings.
Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes and Andre Silva should complete the front four. Manchester United ace Fernandes played a huge part in the Red Devils securing a top four spot in the Premier League and proved there is value in recruiting in the winter window. The former Sporting Lisbon skipper is 3/1 to net anytime as he bids to cement a regular spot in the side.
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Andre Silva is back in the fold after a successful spell at Eintracht Frankfurt. The forward hit double figures for the German outfit and is 11/2 to break the deadlock. The Milan owned ace is close to a permanent switch to The Eagles and is ahead of Joao Felix in the pecking order. Portugal are 5/6 to claim the spoils and the draw is 13/5.
Opponents Croatia have a number of household names in the ranks. Former Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric captains The Blazers and will come up against an old team-mate he shared immense success with at Real Madrid. With the exception of perhaps Italy, there are few better midfields in world football with Ivan Rakitic, Mateo Kovacic, Marcelo Brozovic and Mario Pasalic all pushing for starting berths.
Meanwhile, Perisic will link up with Ante Rebic in attack. In his 88 appearances to date, the Bayern Munich treble winner has never let his country down and effectively averages a strike every three outings from out wide. The winger is 3/1 to bag anytime and Croatia are 16/5 to emerge triumphant on the night.
One to watch for Portugal: Raphaël Guerreiro played a part in 10 goals for Borussia Dortmund in the 2019-20 season despite featuring in defence. The full-back loves to get forward and is an attractive 12/1 to register anytime.
One to watch for Croatia: Rebic was the standout performer in Serie A when the league campaign resumed and is a tricky operator. The versatile attacker can play anywhere across the front and will be difficult to pick up. The Split native is 9/1 to give the travelling party the lead.
Long shot: Portugal have rich pedigree in tournament football and are well drilled. Santos’ troops have proven they are a dependable bet in World, European and Nations League formats and know how to get the job done. Despite all the talent on show, a gritty 1-0 result is 11/2.