- Portugal v Chile
- Date: 28/06/17
- Kick off: 19:00 (BST)
- TV: ITV 1
- Portugal may be making their Confederations Cup debut, but the defending European champions looked right at home in Group A as they qualified with some ease. Despite an early slip up against Mexico, a game in which the Iberian nation twice lead before having to settle for a draw, Ronaldo and Co. have looked relatively untroubled, dispatching of hosts Russia and the footballing minnows of New Zealand.
- Chile were amongst the pre-tournament favourites to lift the trophy and La Roja remain on course to do just that. However, what was predicted to be a stroll through Group B almost turned into a desperate dive for the finish line as the South Americans were forced to settle for 1-1 draws against Germany and Australia. Luckily, an opening day win over Cameroon gave Juan Antonio Pizzi’s men a vital three points that would ultimately prove enough to see Chile through to their first ever Confederations Cup semi-final.
Prior to this year’s tournament, neither Portugal or Chile had any experience of playing in the Confederations Cup, yet both nations were amongst the favourites to lift the trophy on July 2nd. This could prove to be a difficult game to call, especially with both sides fielding such strong teams. Portugal may have topped Group A, but that was arguably the weaker half of the draw, especially with a below-par Russia and a very weak New Zealand outfit providing little in the way of competition, whereas Chile were forced to overcome the champions of Africa and Asia in the form of Cameroon and Australia, not to mention a tricky tie with a young and dynamic Germany team.
The difference between the two teams could come down to which country’s superstar performs on the night. There is no doubting that Cristiano Ronaldo has been hogging the limelight so far, following his haul of two goals in three games, while Alexis Sanchez has managed just the one strike in his trio of outings. With both players reportedly eyeing big moves this summer, a show of class in front of the watching world could just encourage potential suitors to splash the cash. Given his knack for scoring crucial goals, Ronaldo is unsurprisingly the favourite to net first (11/4), while two or more goals for the talismanic frontman also looks tempting at 5/1. Sanchez, on the other hand, is 23/10 to score anytime.
In their pursuit of international honours, both Portugal and Chile have learned to fight to the bitter end, with the two nations being forced to rely on playing beyond the 90 minute mark in order to taste success. In fact, Portugal only won one game in regulation time as they captured the European Championship title in 2016. Another long evening could be on the cards in Kazan, with the prospect of extra time and a dreaded penalty shootout looking like a real possibility.
- Sports.net top tip: Portugal to win in extra time - 10/1
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.