Portugal vs Croatia (7.45, Saturday 5 September) is one of the opening games of the UEFA Nations League Group A3. Most of the A-Groups are tough, but both teams will be keen to avoid defeat as France are also in the group.
Portugal are even-money (2.00) to claim three points, with a win for Croatia at 10/3 (4.33), and the draw 5/2 (3.50). Those quotes for Portugal look fair, considering they won their four home games last season, if you include their home advantage in the Nations League finals. Croatia have also lost their last two away fixtures in Euro 2021 qualifying.
But the Croatia team can pull off a shock result, when in the mood, and our Portugal vs Croatia tip is for there to be less than 2.5 goals.
Portugal can score loads of goals when presented with easy opportunities, just ask poor Lithuania who conceded 11 goals against Portugal in two matches last season. But Portugal tend to adopt a defence-first approach against fellow A-Group teams. Over the last couple of seasons, they’ve beaten the Netherlands and Italy 1-0, while drawing 0-0 against Italy and Belgium.
The tactically astute Croatians also know how to frustrate teams, with a view of hitting them on the break, and it’s easy to see this match being a game of chess in which neither side is willing to push too many players forward. An early goal could change that but, even when both teams scored in the first half in their 1-1 draw in 2018, neither scored in the second half (and that was a friendly).
Poland and Croatia also clashed in the Euro 2016 finals, when Portugal stifled Croatia (who were favourites to win the match). That game ended 0-0, while their 2013 friendly ended 1-0 to Portugal. That’s why our tip for Portugal vs Croatia is less than 2.5 goals.
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