England head into their final warm-up match in confident mood having beaten both Turkey and Australia but this promises to be their toughest test before the main event kicks off in just over a week. Portugal have one more match to prepare themselves after this but they were comfortable winners over Norway in their first pre-tournament friendly and beat one of the big favourites for the title in Belgium in their previous match back in March so they can point to plenty of their own momentum and reasons to be optimistic.
This is the first meetings between these sides for 10 years and there’s been very little to separate them in their last few encounters as the last four have all finished level and the most recent two both ended with tournament exits for England via penalties.
Since the start of 2014 England have won 11 of their 12 matches at home, including seven by more than one goal and eight coming to nil. The majority of those matches were against weaker side of course, but we only rank Portugal 16th and that is exactly where we had Switzerland when they came to Wembley in the qualifying campaign and were beaten 2-0. Moreover, England have lost just two of their 14 matches since 2011 (W6-D6-L2) against teams ranked 11th-25th regardless of location and that includes a W3-D2-L0 record at home.
Back England at 6/1 or Portugal at 12/1 with BETFAIR
Cristiano Ronaldo will be missing for Portugal following his efforts in the Champions League final and while they had enough class to brush Norway aside in Porto last week this is very different task. Since the start of 2014 Portugal have lost to the likes of Albania, Cape Verde and Russia when Ronaldo has been missing and each of those losses came to nil. Even with the Real Madrid man they struggled to score in qualifying for these Finals and all seven of their wins were by just one goal margins with four being 1-0 scores.
We have England ranked a couple of places above Portugal at 14th and eight of their 14 matches in the past three years against teams ranked 5th-25th have had fewer than two goals while seven have been goalless at half-time. Meanwhile, we have to go back to 2000 to find the last time Portugal won away to a team we had ranked above them, going W0-D3-L5 in such matches since then.
With Ronaldo taking a break England should continue their momentum and pick up another win here – and at 2.25 they are excellent value to do so – while we also fancy them to do so with a clean sheet against a team that struggles to find the net without their biggest star. We don’t expect England to take Portugal to the cleaners though so the win combined with Under 2.5 Goals is our best bet for this one.
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