2018 FIFA World Cup Prediction: Portugal vs Spain

Embed from Getty Images

Verdict: Under 2,5 goals scored – yes

Best Odds: 11/20

Bookmaker: 888sport

Even though the 2018 FIFA World Cup starts on Thursday with the game between the hosts, Russia, and Saudi Arabia, that is not the only interesting game in the first few days of action. This Friday there will be a star-studded contest as Spain and Portugal will lock horns in a tightly-contested battle in Group B. The game will be played at Fisht Stadium in Sochi, and kick-off is slated at 21:0o local time.


The reigning European champions do not arrive into this game in the best form, as Fernando Santos’ men have won just three of their seven pre-World Cup friendly matches (W3, D3, L1). However, no one should count them out just yet. Led by one of the best players in the world in Cristiano Ronaldo, the Iberian side have enough weapons to pull upset against any team in the world, and that includes a Spanish side that will likely undergo several changes ahead of their debut (more on that below). But talking strictly about Portugal, there is no question this is their time to shine. They did an outstanding job during the World Cup Qualifiers winning nine of 10 games on route to winning their group, and also ended third in the FIFA Confederations Cup. If anything, this is their time to do something to remember in the World Cup, as they have always come up short in past editions.

Team News

Portugal are at full strength ahead of this game.

Fernando Santos does not have injured, suspended, or doubtful players for the tournament opener.


There is no question that Spain have been at centre stage of news worldwide following the surprising sack of Julen Lopetegui this past Wednesday, and now former La Roja and Real Madrid legend Fernando Hierro has taken over the head-coaching duties for the 2010 FIFA World Cup champions. Even though Hierro is expected to change “as little as possible” ahead of the debut against their Iberian rivals, we might see a thing or two of him that could distance him from Lopetegui was doing. But if we look at the numbers, there is no question that Spain’s form should be a cause for corcern for almost any team in the tournament. La Roja are currently riding a 20-game undefeated streak (W14, D6), and in all of those games they have scored at least once. Plus, they have an inmense amount of talent where names such as Manchester United’s goalkeeper David De Gea stand out as well as other players such as Isco, Sergio Ramos and Andres Iniesta, just to name a few. Will they manage to leave the coaching change behind and perform as many experts believe they will?

Team News

Spain do not have injured players ahead of this game.

However, there could be tactical changes coming following the appointment of Hierro. Right now, their probable starting XI is quite an enigma.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Neither side have scored more than once in their last four competitive matches between them.
  • Spain are riding a 20-game undefeated streak, scoring at least once in each one of those games.
  • Portugal have not looked as convincing, registering just three wins in seven friendly matches prior to the World Cup. Their record ended at W3, D3, L1.
  • Four of Portugal’s last five matches have had over 2,5 goals scored. Meanwhile, the same thing has happened in just two of Spain’s last five matches.
  • Two of the last five meetings between these two bitter rivals have had over 2,5 goals as well.


Spain and Portugal will meet in an epic battle, and there is no question that this is one of the “must-watch” games during the Group Stage.

Based on what has happened in their past games, I don’t expect lots of goals. Probably under 2,5 goals in total sounds like a fair alternative.

Verdict: Under 2,5 goals scored – yes

Best Odds: 11/20

Bookmaker: 888sport

2 Comments on 2018 FIFA World Cup Prediction: Portugal vs Spain

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.