Portugal vs Ireland. Prediction and Preview. Probable Lineups, Team News, Stats, and more

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In their final Euro 2024 warm-up, Portugal aim to fine-tune tactics against a bold, pressure-free Ireland

Portugal will host Ireland in the International Friendly match at the Municipal Stadium in Aveiro. The fixture will take place on Wednesday, June 12, beginning at 00:15 IST.

Parimatch News will tell you everything you need to know ahead of the upcoming match.

Portugal News & Current Form: 

The final round of UEFA EURO 2024 is approaching, and to prepare as best as possible for the tournament, national teams are participating in friendly matches. The championship will be held in Germany from June 14 to July 14. The teams that finish first and second in their groups, along with the four best third-placed teams, will advance to the Round of 16. The tournament playoffs will be held according to the Olympic system with the losing teams being eliminated from the tournament. 

For the Portugal national team, exactly one week separates their friendly match against Ireland from their official match against the Czech Republic. The Quinas are undoubtedly considered one of the favourites for the upcoming championship and could contend for the highest honours. Their group opponents will be the Czech Republic, Turkey, and Georgia. As they begin their journey in the continental championship, they will treat the match against Ireland seriously — it is a final rehearsal.

In the penultimate match against Finland, Roberto Martinez did not use Bernardo Silva, Pepe, or Bruno Fernandes. Cristiano Ronaldo also missed the match, having been granted a short break after a busy season in Saudi Arabia, where he broke numerous scoring records but did not win any titles. The 39-year-old forward returned to the national team for the friendly against Croatia but started that game on the bench. Before the kick-off of that fixture, the entire stadium sang the Portuguese national anthem, including not only the home players but also their Spanish coach, Martinez. The Euro 2016 winners attempted to impose their game from the first minute.

Portugal had an impressive qualifying campaign, becoming the only team to win all their group matches (10 wins with a goal difference of 36:2), and they aimed to dominate even against a strong Croatia side. Defensive midfielder João Palhinha stayed back with the centre-backs, while full-backs Diogo Dalot and Nuno Mendes pushed high up the pitch. However, the hosts struggled to deliver the ball effectively into the opponent’s penalty area. 

In contrast, Croatia scored on their first counter-attack, albeit with some assistance from the referee. German official Osmers awarded a controversial penalty when Mateo Kovacic went down in the Portuguese penalty area after contact with Vitinha. It seemed that the Manchester City midfielder fell on his own rather than due to a foul, but Luka Modric converted the penalty nonetheless. By half-time, Portugal had half the number of shots as Croatia — 6:11 (on target: 0:3). Fortunately for them, the opponent did not capitalize on their scoring chances.

During the halftime, Martinez made four substitutions. While these changes were likely pre-planned, they appeared to reinvigorate the team. Two fresh Portuguese players quickly managed to score a goal. Portugal outshot Croatia in the second half — 10:5 (on target: 4:4). However, the best chance in the closing stages fell to the visitors, when substitute Luka Sucic broke through one-on-one, only for goalkeeper Diogo Costa to save the team with his foot (1:2). This result has posed an unexpected problem for Martinez’s side ahead of Euro 2024: his team has conceded two goals in four consecutive friendlies.

The Portuguese national team lost once since the appointment of Roberto Martinez

The home defeat might have shaken the team’s spirit, but it is unlikely they will exert themselves excessively in their final warm-up game before the European Championship. Hence, the match against Ireland is unlikely to be a hard-fought battle, as any injury before Euro 2024 would be undesirable. Roberto Martinez is expected to field his strongest line-up, seeking cohesion and confidence before their official match against the Czechs, ensuring all tactical schemes are understood. However, securing a result and working on team chemistry are slightly different objectives. It is conceivable that the Republic of Ireland, with nothing to lose since they did not qualify for the Euros, could play to their full potential.

Recently appointed manager of Fenerbahce SK, Jose Mourinho, commented on what he expects from the Portugal national team at the European Championship:

“What is required of Portugal at Euro 2024? A strong presence in football. They need empathy, ambition — yes. But sometimes the line between victory and defeat is very thin. Many matches may be decided by penalties.”

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Ireland News & Current Form: 

Over the past decade, the Republic of Ireland have unexpectedly qualified for the finals of the continental championship twice in a row, yet they missed out on both Euro 2020 and Euro 2024. The qualification campaign for the tournament in Germany was particularly unfortunate for them, as they suffered six defeats in eight matches, managing to secure victories only against Gibraltar — 3:0 and 4:0. Even these games were not easy for them. This performance was only enough to secure the penultimate spot in Group B. Ireland has been struggling due to the absence of players of the level of Robbie Keane in the national team for a long time, with the team failing to qualify for significant tournaments since 2016.

This failure led to changes: former Manchester United FC defender John O’Shea was appointed as the interim head coach of the national team. While famous footballers often turn out to be poor managers, O’Shea seems to be an exception. At least for now, John is managing the team quite well. He has retained the collective’s familiar defensive style while making other aspects of their play more attractive.

In friendly matches under O’Shea’s leadership, the Green Army drew with Belgium (0:0) and lost to Switzerland (0:1). Their scoring efficiency remains poor, but the number of dangerous chances created by Ireland has increased. In the match against the Red Devils, Ireland created 1.8 xG, missed a penalty, and squandered several very good chances. The former MU defender either needs to call up players with better finishing abilities or continue working on improving finishing in training and further enhancing the sharpness of their attacks.

In their latest match, the Greens faced Hungary: Troy Parrott, Michael Obafemi, Matt Doherty, and company managed to defeat a participant of the upcoming European Championship with a score of 2:1. They intend to play boldly against another strong team. Even if it’s Portugal and an away match, Ireland have nothing to lose: the summer break is ahead, there is no pressure from official matches, and this is an opportunity to truly test their strength. 

Portugal form guide: W-W-W-L-W-L

Ireland form guide: W-L-D-D-L-W

Portugal vs Ireland Head-To-Head Record:

  • June 11, 2014: Portugal 5 – 1 Ireland (International Friendly);
  • September 1, 2021: Portugal 2 – 1 Ireland (World Cup qualification);
  • November 11, 2021: Ireland 0 – 0  Portugal (World Cup qualification).

Portugal vs Ireland Predicted XI:

Portugal’s possible starting lineup (4-3-3): Costa; Cancelo, A Silva, Dias, Dalot; Fernandes, Palhinha, Vitinha; Bernardo, Ronaldo, Jota.

Ireland’s possible starting lineup (3-4-3): Kelleher; Coleman, Duffy, D O’Shea; Doherty, Smallbone, Cullen, Brady; Azaz, Idah, Szmodics.

Statistical preview of the match Portugal vs Ireland:

  • The Portuguese squad holds the 6th position in the FIFA national team rankings, while the Irish team is significantly lower, ranked 60th.
  • Portugal’s First XI average age is 25.7 years, and Ireland’s First XI average age is 28.4 years.
  • Chris Kavanagh has been appointed as the centre referee. The match official has already served 27 games this season, showing an average of 3.7 yellow cards and also whistles 22 fouls per game. 
  • In the last 5 games Portugal conceded an average of 1.60 goals per game and scored an average of 2.40 goals per game.
  • In the last 5 games, Ireland conceded an average of 0.80 goals per game and scored an average of 0.60 goals per game.

What has been said before the match:

Irish centre-back of relegated Burnley FC Dara O’Shea expressed his excitement and determination ahead of facing Portugal:

“The big nations and big teams are always the ones you want to play in and be involved in, they’re obviously the ones that growing up as a child, you’re wanting to play in one day.”

“Obviously for your country, it’s got that extra meaning to it, you know when you play against the big boys, you want to put your best foot forward and make the country proud.”

“We all know within the squad what a win against a side like Portugal means because a win against one of the big sides can affect the nation massively in a positive way, so it’s a privilege to be a part of.”

“It will be a challenge coming up against them as it always is, they have some of the world’s best players but we all have to be at our best and we want to finish the international break strongly.”

Roberto Martinez, the coach of Portugal, praised the match against Croatia as an ideal preparatory challenge:

“This was a perfect match for us because we played against a technically very strong team. I think Croatia is the first team to play with the ball as well as we do. In the first half, we struggled to control the game, but we played much better in the second half.”

“We scored from a well-crafted situation against a set defence and were also aggressive. It was a good preparatory match for the 16 players who were on the pitch, and no one got injured. We never want to lose, but the match was positive as part of our preparation for the European Championship.”

Portugal vs Ireland Prediction:

Robert Martinez’s lads proved themselves excellent in the qualifiers and they are now heading for a major tournament, where all the key players need to be at their optimum condition. At the same time, the outcome of the friendly match does not hold any significance. In this case, we can see both the rotation and experiments on the pitch. The results of the previous friendlies against the Finns and Croats show that Portugal don’t use their full strength and keep their most combative set-ups secret. At the same time, the focus on results in teams of this calibre is always relevant, and the Selection will be pushing forward. 

The Irish, meanwhile, represent a rather stacked team with a strong character, never going into a match with their sleeves down. The Boys in Green have not conceded more than two goals in 37 matches. The recent 2-1 win over a tough Hungary and a 0-0 draw with Belgium at the last internationals are also worth remembering. For Ireland, the upcoming match is a good opportunity to test their mettle, they will put up a fight and try to rack up a glowing headline – a win over the favourite. 

The Portuguese are regarded as a top-five team at the tournament and the difference with the Irish in the FIFA ranking is as much as 54 positions. The Lusitanians boast a wealth of talent, they have the home field factor and the players are eager to shine before the start of UEFA EURO 2024. Cristiano Ronaldo will be driving his team forward to seek chances at the opposition’s third to arrive at the upcoming tournament in high spirits. However, we are not anticipating a flood of goals in this match. The Irish play defensively, and they will be even more determined to keep all the locks tight against a top opponent. Football of the Irish national team is always aimed at destruction, which translates into a small number of goals in matches with their participation. Considering the qualification for Euro 2024 and the friendly games of the current year, only 1 of 11 matches have seen more than three goals scored. Strongly defensive Irish football and a possible ideas try-out from Robert Martinez hints that this tendency can continue. 

Parimatch News staff prediction:

We say: Portugal will not lose and the match total will be less than 3.5 – Yes.

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