Tip Portugal - Spain
It's a match that would be worthy of a World Cup final but we get to see Spain take on European champions Portugal in matchday 1 of Group B. Spain have already had to get past Italy in the qualifiers and now take on neighbours Portugal in what should be the game that decides who wins the group. The top two teams playing in the opening fixture is never an easy situation. If either side drops points, that puts a lot of pressure on them for the second game of the group as Spain discovered in 2010 when losing their opener to the Netherlands. Spain finished five points clear of Italy in their qualifying group and only dropped points in a 1-1 draw with the Italians. They are unbeaten in their last 20 games and last lost when being knocked out of the European Championships by Italy two years ago. This year has seen them demolish Argentina 6-1 and an away draw with World Champions Germany. Their squad is packed with experience with five players having over 90 caps and as usual their midfield looks frightening with Isco, who scored a hat-trick against Argentina, and David Silva.
Portugal are bidding to do what Spain did in the past and become the World and European Champions at the same time. They lost their opening game in the qualifiers away in Switzerland but then won the next nine to top the group and doing so by an aggregate score of 32-2. Cristiano Ronaldo scored 15 goals in the qualifiers and he will be the key player for them of course. Over 90 minutes they have only lost one of their last 18 games and excluding friendlies have one loss in 22. It's not all about Ronaldo with Goncalo Guedes scoring twice in their final warm-up game against Algeria and Andre Silva has 12 goals in his 23 internationals for Portugal. This isn't easy to predict, especially as it's the first game of the tournament, go for the match to end in a draw.
Key points Portugal - Spain
Portugal have drawn two of their three games.
Three of the last five Spain games have ended in a draw.
One in three games between these two sides ends in a draw
Conclusion Portugal - Spain
Neither side will want to lose this game as it will almost certainly mean they finish second in the group and that could mean meeting the hosts in the last sixteen. Spain and Portugal are both on good runs at present and have players that can change games in a split second. Portugal will need to keep Ronaldo fit throughout the tournament and hope his mind isn't being affected by possible transfer talk. It's hard to split these two sides at this stage of the tournament and the tip here is for the game to end in a draw.
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Portugal Spain Prediction published on June 18, 2018