Sports Mole is previewing Saturday’s World Cup qualifying – Europe meets Serbia and Portugal, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Serbia and Portugal Both want to build on the victories on the opening day in the World Cup qualifiers when they compete against each other in Group A at the Rajko Mitic stadium on Saturday evening.
The hosts had a five-goal thriller in their first game against the Republic of Ireland, while Portugal took a major stroke of luck mid-week to beat Azerbaijan.
Aleksandar MitrovicThe ongoing problems at Fulham clearly did not affect his skills on the international stage as the Serbian star striker rediscovered his shot on goal at the perfect time to give his side an exciting 3-2 win over Ireland on Matchday 1.
The former Newcastle United player had only been on the pitch five minutes before hitting a wonderful chip after an unlucky goal Mark Traversand he soon doubled his record with what turned out to be the game-winning header in the 75th minute James CollinsThe late tap-in can’t inspire Ireland to make a dramatic comeback on Serbia’s lawn.
An intense fight for the center forward is brewing in Serbia’s ranks Dusan Vlahovic started and scored in the night, with Mitrovic also hoping to fend off Luka Jovic for the opportunity to take on Portugal – an ideal dilemma for Dragan Stojkovic than wanting to bid his three strikers to prove their skills in the final third.
With Serbia’s midweek scoring performance, they top the rankings after the first game, despite being just above Portugal on goals scored before a delicious competition. The two goals they scored that night ended with three consecutive goals for the hosts in all competitions.
After failing to qualify for the European Championship again, another appearance on the world stage is no less than Serbia’s loyal wish, but the reigning Continental and Nations League champions’ visit will certainly be a real test of their World Cup qualifications next week long trip to Baku.
Despite having 67% of the ball possession and scoring a whopping 29 shots in 90 minutes, Portugal had to rely on a catastrophic defensive mistake to get the job done against Azerbaijan Cristiano RonaldoTurin’s lawn.
Solid goalkeeper from Azerbaijan Shahrudin Mahammadaliyev Tried to knock away a cross in the 37th minute, but the shot stopper hit the captain’s back Maxim Medvedev before they trickled into the back of an empty net and there were no more goals to be scored in the night.
It was hardly a moral-boosting performance by the current European champions, but Santos confirmed that ultimately the three points were all that mattered on the night and that not a single season or tournament has passed without a team having to win ugly Siegel Progress or become crowned champions.
Portugal have now taken the booty in four of their last five games in all competitions and played for the sixth time without conceding a goal at the Juventus Stadium on Wednesday evening – also with an inspiring center-back Pepe If they fail to overcome the injury, that defensive determination should certainly help them well against Mitrovic and Co in a top fight.
Serbia never managed to beat Portugal in their six attempts against them – losing three and drawing three against the Iberian nation – and Portugal didn’t score a 4-2 win over their opponents until September 2019 during European qualifying.
Serbia World Cup Qualification – Europe Form:
Serbia Form (all competitions):
Portugal World Cup Qualification – Europe Form:
Portugal form (all competitions):
Mitrovic will certainly keep an eye on a starting role after finding his shooting boots against Ireland, according to Jovic and Filip Djuricic You may have to settle for stains on the bench.
Dusan Tadic Both assists for Mitrovic’s goals sunk, so there is no risk of losing his place in the attack Filip Kostic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic are both pending for callbacks to the engine room.
Stefan Mitrovic didn’t cover itself with glory for Ireland’s second goal of the night, so Nemanja Gudelj waiting in the starting blocks for his chance in a back three.
The 18-year-old Sporting Lisbon defender Nuno mendes was given a start after an injury on the left side Raphael Guerreiroand the Manchester City starlet is due for his second Portugal international game this weekend.
Bruno Fernandes was introduced at halftime against Azerbaijan and should certainly be called back to the starting line-up here, with Joao MoutinhoThe place in midfield is also threatened with return Danilo Pereira.
Santos also welcomed the impact of Joao Felix Mid-week and given his team’s lack of ruthlessness during the night, he might be tempted to introduce the Atletico Madrid man and Diogo iota this time for the first XI.
Serbia possible starting line-up:
Dmitrovic; Pavlovic, Milenkovic, S. Mitrovic; Gagic, Maksimovic, Milinkovic-Savic, Kostic; Tadic; Vlahovic, A. Mitrovic
Portugal possible starting line-up:
Lopes; Cancelo, Duarte, Dias, Mendes; Pereira, Moutinho, Fernandes; Neto, Felix, Ronaldo
We say: Serbia 1-2 Portugal
Serbia’s rearguard is there to be injured but the quality of the hosts at the other end of the field is beyond question. Portugal could and should have scored more goals against Azerbaijan if Mahammadaliyev hadn’t played blind, and while Santos’ men can’t count on a win this weekend, we support the visitors to get a close win and their opponents in the table to overtake.
Our experienced betting partners at Sporita.com predict over 1.5 goals in this game. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more proven soccer tips.Over 1.5: data