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Cristiano-less Portugal Still Good for a Point in Poland

October 11, 2018

Cristiano-less Portugal vs Poland

Poland v Portugal

With Cristiano Ronaldo otherwise engaged, it will be a talisman-less Portugal who head to Poland looking to make it two wins from two in UEFA’s new competition.

In their opener, the Portuguese – who that day were also minus the services of a resting Ronaldo – picked up a fine 1-0 home win over Italy (André Silva scoring the only goal) and will be confident of a repeat against the Poles who, despite drawing with the Italians in their own opener, are still suffering a World Cup hangover.

The hosts will be hoping the air of celebration, as captain Robert Lewandowski celebrates his 100th cap for his country, will help the home fans to quickly forget the disappointing campaign in Russia and, instead, generate a positive atmosphere inside the Silesian Stadium.


Whether that will be enough to help them overcome the talented Portuguese will only be revealed as events unfold in Chorzow, but there will undoubtedly be some much-deserved warmth on display for Lewandowski, who becomes one of only four Poles to earn 100 caps or more.

Poland, under new manager, Jerzy Brzeczek will likely rely on a mix of youth and experience and will be hoping they can tap into the resolve that saw them almost sneak a win in Napoli.

Brzeczek may gamble on giving a start to Genoa striker Krzysztof Piatek – currently one of the most in-form strikers in Europe having scored 13 goals in just 8 games for his Serie A club.

The Portuguese, even without Ronaldo, are a good side and will fancy making it two wins from two, and with the masterly Fernando Santos in charge, they are unquestionably one of a small group who are capable of winning the inaugural Nations League.

Yet, everything points to a point apiece, not least because their last three meetings have been drawn – and the bookies are finding it hard to split them with Portugal just edging it at 13/8  for the win, compared to 9/5  for Poles.

We tend to agree, with 1-1 at 21/4  (888sport) looking a very worthy shout. Also, with it being Lewandowski’s big night, 33/10  (188bet) for him being first goalscorer looks a good bet.

Tips Summary

Poland and Portugal to draw 1-1
Thursday 11, October. 19:45GMT
Odds: 21/4

Robert Lewandowski to be first goalscorer
Thursday 11, October. 19:45 GMT
Odds: 33/10


Israel v Scotland

Alex McLeish’s Scotland may have lost five out of six friendlies since the last World Cup qualifying campaign, but interestingly are unbeaten in seven competitive matches since their 3-0 defeat to England at Wembley back in November 2016.

They are also seeking a fourth consecutive win over Israel, so we have a good feeling for the Scots in this one. Defensively, they struggle for clean sheets, but we can see them outscoring Israel and sneaking a 2-1 (9/1  with 188bet). Also worth considering, given his recent goalscoring record, is veteran striker Steven Naismith as anytime goalscorer (3/1  with 888sport).

Tips Summary

Scotland to win 2-1
Thursday 11, October. 19:45GMT
Odds: 9/1

Steven Naismith as anytime goalscorer
Thursday 11, October. 19:45 GMT
Odds: 3/1

  • Israel
  • Napoli
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Russia
  • Scotland
  • UEFA Nations League

    About the author

    Carl Wright
    Carl Wright

    Sports Writer

    Carl is the original ‘Special One’ and uses his statistical knowledge of football to gain the upper hand over the bookies on a weekly basis. A student of odds and probabilities, Carl brings his vast experience of playing the odds and beating the bookies to a weekly column highlighting the very best football bets.