World Cup Qualifiers: Latvia Prepares for 90 Minute Siege in PortugalPublished November 13, 2016 by Florin P
High scoring Portugal goes for a third lopsided victory in Group B after scoring six goals in each of their previous two games (7:45 p.m UK Time).
Portugal is famous for starting qualification campaigns slowly and struggling despite their sheer quality. The race for World Cup 2018 looked like it will fit the pattern, but the European champions returned to their winning ways. They managed to win back-to-back games by scoring six goals and keeping clean sheets on both occasions. They can extend their winning streak when they take on another group underdog, Latvia.
Cristiano Ronaldo Fires on All Cylinders
As always, the Portuguese rely heavily on their gifted striker. Ronaldo didn’t disappoint and he is currently tied for the lead in a list featuring the most prolific goalscorers. His five goals and his tremendous experience and skill make him the main threat to the Latvia goalscorer. In the previous games, his team had very little to worry about defensively since opponents were always boxed in.
Latvia is unlikely to exercise constant pressure and will travel to Portugal determined to defend. This is usually a risky strategy against an offensive minded team, yet it could work on this particular occasion. Ronaldo is tired after having to play so many important games in both the domestic championship and the Champions League. His coach won’t risk an injury and he is unlikely to play the entire 90 minutes.
Low Hopes for Latvia
Compared to the qualification stage for Euro 2016, the World Cup qualifiers are much tougher. Only the first two teams qualify and the second best will go through a playoffs round, so the challenge is real. Latvia is nowhere within striking distance of the leading pack and unlikely to close the gap in the remaining grounds.
Truth be told, they’ve got a snowflake’s chance in hell and many of the players have already lost confidence. With a single victory in three games they will be happy if they salvaged one point in Lisbon. A narrow margin defeat wouldn’t be regarded as a major setback, so it makes perfect sense to back them to cover the +2.5 goals spread at odds of 7/5 offered by bet365 Sports.