This is not the World Cup playoff final that anyone expected. It seemed almost cruel that either Portugal or Italy would miss out on Qatar 2022. But now both nations could be absent thanks to North Macedonia’s victory on Thursday. They now must beat Portugal in Porto on Tuesday to reach their first ever World Cup finals though.
Where and when: Estádio do Dragão – 29 March, kick-off 19:45
Where you can see Portugal vs. North Macedonia:
Last time: These two nations have only ever met twice with the last clash coming almost ten years ago. That ended in a draw but the stakes are much higher this time.
Portugal vs. North Macedonia Predictions and Preview
North Macedonia beating Italy – in Palermo – has to go down as one of the biggest upsets in recent European football history. The fact that the only goal came in stoppage time after Italy had failed to score in 32 attempts will just make it even harder for the Azzurri fans to take. But now it is North Macedonia who could be competing in their second ever major international tournament after qualifying for the European Championship last year.
Portugal will be the clear favourites to win in front of their own fans but will be mindful of how they allowed Turkey to come back into the semi final on Thursday – and how Italy allowed North Macedonia to still be involved in qualification at all.
Portugal almost made things much harder for themselves near the end of the game against Turkey and it was only a missed penalty that eventually spurred them onto a 3-1 victory.
Portugal vs. North Macedonia full time result odds
After seeing how North Macedonia took their chance against Italy in the semi final, odds of 16/1 for a similar result will be tempting for a lot of people. But this is a Portugal side used to coming through adversity and will now be looking to qualify for a World Cup finals that may well be Cristiano Ronaldo’s last. The odds of 1/5 for a home win might not be too attractive but it is the sensible way to go.
Portugal vs. North Macedonia both teams to score odds
Although North Macedonia only had four attempts on goal against Italy, goal scorer Aleksandar Trajkovski was a threat throughout the game and will probably cause Portugal a few problems too. But Fernando Santos – not always the most attacking-minded coach, even with the players at his disposal – will make sure his team knows not to give their opponents the same chance of an upset that Italy did. Portugal should win this to nil so a bet against both teams to score at 8/15 is best.
Portugal vs. North Macedonia correct score odds
Before that shock result against Italy, most people would have thought that a fixture between Portugal and North Macedonia would provide a lot of goals for the home side. There will be the temptation on the part of the Portuguese players to put this game out of sight early on but it may actually turn out to be a tenser affair. A lower-scoring Portugal victory seems more likely and a 2-0 final score has odds of 9/2.
Portugal vs. North Macedonia first goalscorer odds
Given his profile in the game, it is no surprise that Cristiano Ronaldo is the favourite to score the opening goal on Tuesday. But, as the game against Turkey showed, there are other players in the squad that can fulfil that task. Ronaldo hasn’t scored in three games now and odds of around 15/4 for Diogo Jota to score the first goal look better value.