Switzerland vs. Portugal - 6/5/19 UEFA Nations League Pick, Odds, and Prediction
|Date & Time||Wednesday June 5, 2019, 2:45 PM (EDT)|
Estadio do Dragao
Portugal 4/6 Draw 14/5 Switzerland 5
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Portugal will face Switzerland in the first semi-final of the inaugural Nations League tournament. Both teams topped their respective qualifying groups and will fight it out to face either England or Netherlands in the final.
Reigning European Championship winners Portugal are favorites to progress and are coincidentally hosting the finals. They will be looking to their home advantage to give them the edge over their opponents.
Switzerland come into the match as underdogs however there has been very little separating the two teams in recent times. The Swiss will be quietly confident that they can upset the expectant home crowd in Porto.
Portugal were unbeaten in their four Nations League group stage matches. One win and one draw against both Italy and Poland was enough to ensure their place in the semi-finals. Defending wasn’t a problem as they only conceded three goals in four games but they struggled to find the net themselves, managing to score just five goals. This is in stark contrast to Switzerland who scored an astonishing 14 goals in their four matches whilst conceding five. Despite one loss, they won their other three games and most notably beat Belgium, the number one ranked team in the world, 5-2.
Prior to the Nations League, Portugal and Switzerland were drawn in the same World Cup qualifying group. After trading 2-0 home wins, the two countries eventually finished level on 27 points after 10 games. This suggests that there really isn’t any gulf in quality between the two teams.
In Haris Seferovic, Switzerland have the tournament’s leading goal scorer. The 27-year-old striker tops the charts with five goals. Seferovic plays his club football for Portuguese champions Benfica so will have the added incentive of continuing his goal scoring form in the country where he plies his trade.
Premier League duo Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) and Xherdan Shaqiri (Liverpool) are also players to watch out for. Shaqiri could be a Champions League winner by the time he faces Portugal. Liverpool play Tottenham Hotspur in the final of that competition just days before the Nations League semi-finals.
Portugal’s star man is undoubtedly Cristiano Ronaldo. They were without him for the group stages of the tournament but he is back in the squad and will be eager to help his country win the first ever Nations League trophy on home soil. The Juventus forward has scored a record 85 goals in 156 matches for Portugal and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him add to his tally against Switzerland.
Portugal have high-profile names throughout their squad. Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva and the exciting young Benfica teenager Joao Felix are two other players that Portugal will look to when it comes to unlocking the Switzerland defense.
In conclusion, Portugal should be too strong for Switzerland. With Ronaldo back in their ranks, they have a much stronger squad than their opponents. Although a Switzerland win is not completely off the cards, I expect Portugal to progress to the final.