England vs Portugal by 20Legend
England cruised through their qualification group in a very impressive way without a single loss of points. If you add their goal difference of 31:3, we can look at a side that really could be performing in a tournament this time. They come from a friendly against Australia (2-1) back on Friday. It was a match where the young striker Marcus Rashford scored his first international goal for Three Lions. Roy Hodgson had a tough time on picking his final squad before the time passed out on May 31st.
Rashford got a place, while Danny Drinkwater, Andros Townsend and Fabian Delph (groin-injury) were cut from the squad. It is also goal getters like Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane that gives the team an extra edge before the Euros. The win against Australia was their second friendly win in a row as they also beat Turkey (2-1) on May 22nd after goals by Kane and Vardy. That means that this game against Portgual is England’s last test before the Euros start against Russia on June 11th. England’s Euro 2016 squad is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Fraser Forster (Southampton), Joe Hart (Manchester City), Tom Heaton (Burnley)
Defenders: Ryan Betrand (Southampton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool), Danny Rose (Tottenham), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), John Stones (Everton), Kyle Walker (Tottenham)
Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham), Ross Barkley (Everton), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), James Milner (Liverpool), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal).
Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Jamie Vardy (Leicester)
Wayne Rooney is given the green light by Roy Hodgson for a starting-role tonight after coming off the bench and scoring against Australia last Friday. Hodgson is also not clear on witch team he will select in the Euro 2016 opener, as he has stated that 4-5 players must continue fighting for a starting role. Rooney has been used in different roles both in Manchester United over the last seasons.
With Vardy and Kane being reckoned as the most lethal duo upfront, it may give Rooney a place behind them in a 4-4-2 diamond formation, or he could be joining the two in a 4-3-3 formation. Left-back Ryan Bertrand is confirmed missing tonight’s game through a minor injury, while central-back Gary Cahill and striker Daniel Sturridge are back after being injured against Australia.
Portugal started off their friendly campaign against Norway (3-0) at home last Sunday. It became a game with a comfortable result even without Cristiano Ronaldo, Pepe and Nani. The first half was not so strong though as Norway produced big chances to score themselves after Portugal had got the first goal. The Norwegian team was actually giving Portugal some problems throughout the first half, while the second half showed why Portugal is in the Euros and Norway is not.
Portugal has individual with the needed X-factor and scored 2-0 with a beautiful free kick. Norway then became several levels worse as their motivation vanished, which made Portugal scoring an easy 3-0 goal which finished the game. Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe will not play tonight either as they are given extra rest. Here is Portugal’s confirmed Euro 2016 squad:
Goalkeepers: Rui Patrício (Sporting CP), Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Eduardo (Dínamo Zagreb).
Defenders: Vieirinha (Wolfsburg), Cédric (Southampton), Pepe (Real Madrid), Ricardo Carvalho (Monaco), Bruno Alves (Fenerbahçe), José Fonte (Southampton), Eliseu (Benfica), Raphael Guerreiro (Lorient).
Midfielders: William Carvalho (Sporting CP), Danilo Pereira (Porto), João Moutinho (Monaco), Renato Sanches (Benfica), Adrien Silva (Sporting CP), André Gomes (Valencia), João Mário (Sporting CP).
Forwards: Rafa Silva (Braga), Ricardo Quaresma (Beşiktaş), Nani (Fenerbahçe), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Éder (Lille).
It is two teams in different “mode” that faces each other tonight. England is playing their last game of preparation here, and Roy Hodgson is clearly in interest of putting on a strong team that can provide him more answers in terms of who is starting against Russia in the Euro 2016 opener. Portugal is having a last match against Estonia after tonight before heading to France and face Iceland in their first game of the Euro 2016. It is therefore England who must be taken as the favorites here as they are also playing at home. However, it is almost impossible to pick a winner in these friendly games. Ireland – Belarus (1-2) back on Monday and Belgium- Finland (1-1) yesterday are two recent examples.
However, I think it could be goals in this match. Some of England’s biggest stars will start tonight, while Portugal’s starters will look to impress their manager by taking their opportunities with their biggest stars are being rested. An away side without Cristiano Ronaldo is certainly a much weaker team, but they also have exciting individuals like Renato Sanches and Quaresma that can provide the little extra if space is given to them. I predict a very entertaining game here with goals involved, but I am uncertain about how much Portugal will manage to contribute without their best player. However, I think that over 2 goals should be a good pick for this game as an alternative for the more difficult 1X2 bet, even though England should have the upper hand at Wembley Stadium tonight. .