The home team, the Portuguese national team, are currently ranked fourth in the world and can have seen a lot of talent emerge in recent years.Cristiano Ronaldo led his team to the Euro 2016 title, but Portugal seem to have fared less well in this year’s Euros.
The squad currently features Liverpool striker Diogo Jota, Manchester United’s central midfielder Borges Fernandes, Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva and Atletico Madrid striker Felix, all of whom have emerged in recent years as very strong youngsters and are now absolute starters for their respective clubs. With the addition of captain Onaldo, the national squad is still relatively luxurious.
However, manager Santos seems to have not found the right way to use these players in the Euros, and is unable to play with absolute ability and form on the field.
Portugal are currently top of Group A with 7 points from 3 wins and 1 draw, and are in a clear position to qualify directly, needing only 3 wins in their next 5 games to get their ticket to the World Cup.
The visitors, Ireland, are currently ranked 47th in the world. The team has produced several outstanding youngsters in recent years, such as Tottenham Hotspur’s young striker Parrott and Brighton’s Aaron Connolly, plus the team has Southampton’s Sean Lang and Tottenham Hotspur’s defender Doherty, the team’s squad should not be underestimated.
The team has now played 2 games in the World Cup and is already in terrible form having lost to Serbia and Luxembourg in consecutive games. If the defeat to Serbia was justifiable because of the difference in strength, then losing to an opponent like Luxembourg is really unacceptable.
Although Ireland have been out of the tournament for a number of years, in the 11 games since the current manager took over, Ireland have only won 5 and lost 6.
A 4-1 win over Andorra in a recent friendly was followed by a draw against Hungary, leaving fans confused about the tactics of the new manager.The forward line has been relatively good so far, but the team’s attack has not been smooth enough. The manager is to blame for this performance.
Portugal are currently top of the group and want to progress directly to the World Cup proper, with the odds being that a team of Ireland’s strength can easily be taken down.
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