Portugal VS Czech Republic – LIVE Reddit Soccer 09/06/2022
The top two in Nations League A Group 2 meet in Lisbon tonight as Portugal host Czech Republic. The Czechs have enjoyed a fine start to their campaign with victory over Switzerland before drawing with Spain, although all three points were within reach until Inigo Martinez’s late leveller in Prague. As for Portugal, their draw in Spain was followed by a comprehensive 4-0 victory over the Swiss – Cristiano Ronaldo on the scoresheet twice on Sunday. Therefore the 2019 Nations League champions will fancy their chances of claiming top spot outright with victory in this one.
Iberian giants Portugal will be keen to secure their hold on the top spot in the UEFA Nations League Group B when they take on the second-placed Czech Republic at the Estadio Jose Alvalade on Thursday night. Both sides have won one and drawn one of their two opening games and are joint top on points. A win for either side will see them pull away at the halfway mark of the group stages. With Spain also in the fray, a win would be a welcome result for both Portugal and the Czech Republic. Fernando Santos’s side were the inaugural winners of the competition in 2019 and will go into the game as the favourites. Playing in front of their home crowd, A Selecao also have the necessary quality to secure all three points on the night. Anything less should be viewed as an upset.
The Czech Republic have given a good account of themselves so far in the competition. They defeated Switzerland and then followed it up with an impressive 2-2 draw against Spain. While Portugal do have the better players, they have shown themselves to have a soft underbelly if pushed. Both sides have faced off against each other only thrice, with their last meeting coming at UEFA Euro 2012. Portugal won 1-0 on the night courtesy of a Ronaldo goal. The 37-year-old is still around and continues to remain hungry for goals and could prove to be the difference-maker once again. The Hard Tackle takes a look at how both sides could line up on the night and what tactics they might employ. Fernando Santos’s men have an excellent record in the competition, losing just one of their 14 encounters in the competition. The Iberians are no pushovers and have some of the best players at their disposal.
Portugal are currently unbeaten in their two group stage games this season and will be keen to tighten their stranglehold on the top spot. With the FIFA World Cup set to take place later this year, it can be argued that the Iberians can use the Nations League as a dress rehearsal for the trip to Qatar.
Going all the way would certainly boost their morale going into the World Cup and also boost confidence that the famous trophy can finally be brought home. Having won six of their last seven home games, they go into the match with a clear advantage.
Santos is likely to persist with a 4-3-3 formation on the night with Rui Patricio starting behind a flat back four of Joao Cancelo, Domingos Duarte, Danilo Pereira and Raphael Guerreiro. 39-year-old Pepe has started Portugal’s last two matches and is likely to be afforded a rest on the night.
Joao Palhinha will be tasked with holding the fort in midfield, affording Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva the freedom to dictate play and control possession. AC Milan star Rafael Leao is likely to hold onto his spot on the left-wing, with Otavio doing a similar job on the other flank. Ronaldo will start up front and will look to add to his historical goal tally at the international level.
Portugal and the Czech Republic will both endeavour to continue their unbeaten starts to the 2022-23 UEFA Nations League in Thursday’s League A Group 2 encounter in Lisbon.
Fernando Santos’s side put four unanswered goals past Switzerland last time out, while their visitors impressively held Spain to a 2-2 stalemate.
Back in the starting XI with a bang, Cristiano Ronaldo made it 116 and 117 international goals for himself to help his Portugal side teach Switzerland a footballing lesson on matchday two, as the Selecao ran out comfortable 4-0 winners.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner struck two goals either side of assisting William Carvalho’s opener and witnessing Joao Cancelo complete the job in the second half, and Portugal have their eyes firmly on the prize ahead of the third of four fixtures this month.
Santos’s side find themselves at the top of the League A Group 2 rankings on goal difference and know what it takes to go all the way in the Nations League after winning the inaugural edition three years ago, but they have bigger fish to fry in the form of the World Cup later this year.
Portugal have now lost just one of their 14 Nations League encounters since the tournament’s inception and welcome the Czech Republic to Switzerland having won six of their last seven at home in all competitions, but the visitors have already frustrated one Iberian nation.
Goals from Jakub Pesek and Jan Kuchta either side of a response from teenage starlet Gavi raised hopes of a famous win over Spain for the Czech Republic, but there was to be late heartache for the world’s 33rd-ranked nation in Prague.
A much-changed Roja outfit would level through Inigo Martinez’s header off the crossbar in the dying embers of the match to deny the Czech Republic all three points, but Jaroslav Silhavy’s side have still made quite the impression in League A early doors.
An opening-day win over Switzerland means that the Czech Republic sit second with four points from their first two fixtures, and Silhavy admitted after the draw with Spain that he “wouldn’t have imagined in my dreams” that his side would boast such a tally at this point.
The visitors can afford to focus all their efforts on success in the Nations League – or at least avoiding relegation to League B – after coming so close yet so far to qualifying for the World Cup, but they have conceded one goal in all five of their Nations League battles away from home so far.
Portugal and the Czech Republic have only ever met three times before – all of which came in European Championships – with the Selecao claiming a 3-1 win at Euro 2008 before a Ronaldo winner got them over the line by a goal to nil four years later.