Both Portugal and Austria suffered disappointing opening day results. Both will be looking to get their tournament underway on Saturday night and Jake Jackman picks his best bets for this Group F clash.
Saturday 18th June 2016 – 20:00 BST
EURO 2016 – GROUP F
PORTUGAL vs. AUSTRIA
Group F featured two shocks in the opening group matches, making me look a little bit stupid. This match is do-or-die for both sides, with Austria and Portugal wanting to win this group to ensure a kinder set of knockout games. Austria weren’t terrible for the opening 60 minutes against Hungary, but their final ball was under par and they were punished for that. Meanwhile, Portugal also played fairly well, but came up against a spirited Icelandic side. This group is now the most fascinating one after the first round of matches, and it will be interesting to see how both these sides react.
Austria were many people’s dark horses going into the tournament, including mine, but they were outplayed by an unfancied Hungary side and now there is no margin for error. They were unlucky to have Aleksandar Dragovic sent off, and that did reduce their chances of getting back into the game at 1-0 down. Kevin Wimmer and Sebastian Prodl will be contenders to replace Dragovic against Portugal. They will still be confident of beating Portugal, especially after seeing their defensive frailties against Iceland. Austria have some dangerous attacking players, and there is definitely more to come from them in their next two group matches.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s comments about Iceland have been criticised by many and there was a touch of arrogance about them, but they show his elite level personality and anything other than winning is a failure to him. That could motivate him even more to perform in this group game and put his country into the position to win this group. He will know that this could be his last good chance of winning an international tournament and he will be disappointed with his performance in the match against Iceland, especially after he missed a great chance to take the three points.
Austria will be hoping that Zlatko Junuzovic is fit to start as he is a vital part of their attack, and performed consistently through qualifying. The main criticism directed at Austria is that they have a very good first eleven, but their squad lacks quality, and Junuzovic’s injury could expose that. Marcel Sabitzer would be the player to come in and he is a good talent, but isn’t ready to be a starter at this level. In terms of Portugal, they have some very exciting midfield talents, some of which were on show against Iceland. Renato Sanches and William Carvalho are both contenders to come into the starting eleven if Fernando Santos decides to change his starting eleven.
I think there will be goals in this one, with both teams needing to go for the win. Over 2.5 goals could be a really good bet. It is a hard game to call, and I think a draw will be the most likely result, but I’m not overly confident in tipping that. One I am quite confident on is for both sides to score. Austria will go all out for the win, and that will leave them open at the back. Portugal have the players to cause them problems and I’d be surprised if Ronaldo wasn’t much improved.