The 2010 winners meet the current European champions and we are backing a low-scoring opening when the sides clash in Sochi on Friday evening
The build up for Spain’s World Cup opener has been calamitous with manager Julen Lopetegui sacked 24 hours before the start of the tournament.
La Roja have therefore had to improvise by appointing sporting director Fernando Hierro as coach for the competition.
The legendary former Real Madrid defender will lead an incredibly talented squad of players in Russia, yet the massive disruption to their preparations makes Friday’s game against Portugal even more of a challenge.
Spain did not lose a game under Lopetegui and despite his dismissal, they remain clear favourites to record a victory in Sochi.
Spain right-back Dani Carvajal has been a doubt for this game since picking up an injury in the Champions League final three weeks ago.
He has been training with the rest of his team-mates this week, however, and could be in line to start, but Real Sociedad’s Alvaro Odriozola will deputise if Carvajal is deemed unfit.
The first group game at a major tournament is always vital and even more so when it pits the two strongest teams against one another.
Both will be focused on not losing and we could well be in for an extremely tight encounter as whilst Spain are notoriously strong at the back, Portugal have recently developed into a team that are tough to break down.
During their victorious run at Euro 2016, the Portuguese kept four clean sheets in seven games and if they are to have any hope of coming close to repeating that continental success, defensive solidity will be key.
Tips and predictions
A high scoring game is not expected in Sochi, with under 2.5 goals offered at just 8/15 (1.53).
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