Portugal welcome Republic of Ireland to Estadio Algarve as Group A Qualifying for 2022 FIFA World Cup resumes.
Victory would see Portugal stay top of Group A whereas Ireland could climb to third with a win if Luxembourg lose at home to Azerbaijan.
Ricardo Pereira is ruled out for Portugal after withdrawing from the squad following Saturday’s win for Leicester at Norwich, having suffered a hamstring injury during the match.
Wolves’ Nelson Semedo has therefore been called up as Pereira’s replacement as manager, Fernando Santos looks to name a strong team for this match which means that uncapped trio of Diogo Costa, Goncalo Inacio and Otavio are unlikely to feature here.
Republic of Ireland will be without goalkeeper, Mark Travers after he was forced to withdraw through illness, after missing Bournemouth’s goalless draw at Hull on Saturday.
- Portugal are unbeaten in two previous World Cup Qualifiers against Republic Of Ireland, albeit drawing 1-1 in both fixtures in October 2000 and June 2001 respectively.
- Republic Of Ireland are winless in four previous trips to Portugal in all competitions (D1, L3).
- This is Portugal’s first home clash against Republic Of Ireland to not take place at Estadio da Luz, Lisbon.
- Five of Portugal’s last seven goals in all competitions have been scored by Cristiano Ronaldo.
- Ireland have won just one of their last 14 matches in all competitions (W1, D7, L6).
Although Portugal will be slightly disappointed to have not gone deep at this summer’s Euros, they did have four very tough physical games to endure so this is an ideal chance to reset and focus on qualifying for the World Cup with the majority of their squad still available.
Ireland meanwhile are in awful form with just one win in their last 14 matches so it’s a miracle that Stephen Kenny is still in charge really, as I personally would of gotten rid after March’s embarrassing loss to Luxembourg because this is a difficult game which is now must-win for their qualification hopes.
In fact, I really do not see an away win coming because I expect Portugal to come out fighting and ease to a routine win against this poorly managed Irish team.
Prediction: Portugal 3-0 ROI
Result: Portugal 2-1 ROI