- Where: Dragao Stadium, Porto
- When: Tuesday, March 29, 2022
Portugal hosts North Macedonia in the final World Cup playoff game. Whoever wins here will secure the ticket for Qatar and the biggest football tournament in the world. The hosts are massive favorites here, but after seeing the Macedonians eliminating Italy in Palermo, that simply doesn’t have to mean anything. The team from the Balkans created one of the biggest upsets in the last 20 years. Therefore, Selecao needs to be careful, and they can’t underestimate the rivals, otherwise, the punishment might be pretty cruel.
Portugal vs North Macedonia Preview
The 2016 EURO champions have regained their morale following two winless games, which later resulted in them losing the spot that directly led to the World Cup championship. A loss at home to Serbia, 1-2, was one of the biggest blows for this generation and something unexpected for the hosts.
Thursday’s event against Turkey ended 3-1 for Selecao, but we have to say that they showed two faces in this game. At first, they were very dominant, but in the latter stage of the contest, Portugal had a lot of luck. Turkey missed a penalty to equalize, and who knows what would have happened later.
Ronaldo and the crew won six of the latest seven games at home, and they did that confidently. Apart from one triumph, Portugal managed to score two or more goals in each of them.
This is one very cute team that gives 100% of its abilities regardless of the rivals. On certain occasions, they receive a reward for that. One such happened in Italy on Thursday night, once Trajkovski’s goal created a sensation that shook the world.
North Macedonia defended well, not allowing the Italians to create serious chances despite having the initiative throughout the entire event. In the end, one desperate shot gave them the opportunity to fight for the first World Cup appearance ever.
This hard-working side is on the rise, with three straight wins, four of them in the past five games. North Macedonia is a defense-first team, and in all those triumphs, they haven’t allowed a single goal.
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Portugal vs North Macedonia Possible Lineups
Portugal: Patricio; Cedric, Fonte, Inacio, Guerreiro; Moutinho, Pereira, Fernandes; B. Silva, Ronaldo, Felix
North Macedonia: Dimitrievski; S. Ristovski, Velkovski, Musliu, Alioski; Nikolov, Ademi, Bardhi; Churlinov, M. Ristovski, Trajkovski
Portugal vs North Macedonia Head to Head
There haven’t been any official meetings between these two sides. The most recent was the friendly international in 2012, which ended without goals.
Portugal vs North Macedonia Prediction
The hosts are much more potent than Italy when looking at the offensive talent, and we believe that North Macedonia’s tactics to defend throughout all 90 minutes won’t be clever in this case. Portugal has problems against the teams that attack them, while they roll over the rivals who chose to wait for counter-attacks. That is why we believe in the hosts’ easy win.
Our verdict: Portugal -1.5