Portugal play the Czech Republic in Prague on Saturday evening hoping to get the result needed to leave themselves in a position to finish top of the group when they host Spain the final group game.

A draw or better for the Seleção tomorrow will leave everything to play for in an Iberian showdown in Braga on Tuesday. Portugal are missing the injured Pepe, João Félix and Raphaël Guerreiro and the suspended João Cancelo against the Czechs. 

Portugal were the inaugural winners of the UEFA Nations League but in this edition of the tournament the Seleção, like most of the major European teams, have their eyes on a bigger prize.

Just two months before the Qatar World Cup kicks off, Fernando Santos and his players will be striving to fine-tune the team for the planet’s greatest sporting event that is just around the corner: the FIFA World Cup. 

The Seleção Podcast: Dress rehearsal for Qatar?

The tournament in November and December will be targeted by bettors all over the world hoping to make some extra earnings in the same way that punters frequenting casinotoplists online do.

Portugal’s first four Nations League matches in June showcased something of a bipolar team. On the one hand the away games against Spain and Switzerland displayed the ponderous, disjointed Portugal team that have exasperated fans in recent years given it is the same set of players who so regularly shine at the highest level for their clubs. 

On the other hand, the home victories against Switzerland and the Czech Republic at the Alvalade stadium were achieved with moments of scintillating football, especially the Portugal 4-0 Switzerland match which some went so far as to say was the best display of attacking football by the Seleção under Fernando Santos.

The veteran manager warned that the team will have to be at the top of their game to get the right result. “The Czech Republic are a high-quality team that have caused problems for opponents in this Nations League. You only need to think they were drawing at home against Spain up to the last minute, in a match that was extremely difficult for Spain. They beat Switzerland, so they are a quality team with lots of players who play in good leagues.”

Yellow Peril

Portugal have seven players at risk of being suspended against Spain if they pick up a yellow card against the Czechs: Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, Cristiano Ronaldo, Danilo Pereira, William Carvalho, Matheus Nunes and Rafael Leão.

“The yellow card situation will not change the strategy,” insisted Santos. “The decisions will be made thinking about what is best for this game, and nothing else.”


Portugal have the edge over the Czech Republic in past meetings, winning 3 and losing 1 of four encounters between the two countries.

At Euro 1996 Karel Porbosky’s famous chip over Vítor Baía was good enough for a 1-0 win for the Czechs to knock Portugal out of the competition at the quarter-final stage. But the Seleção exacted revenge by winning the next three games, at Euro 2008 (3-1), Euro 2012 (1-0) and earlier this summer in Lisbon (2-0).

Predicted Portugal XI: 

Diogo Costa, Diogo Dalot, Rúben Dias, Danilo, Nuno Mendes, Rúben Neves, William Carvalho, Vitinha, Bernardo Silva, Diogo Jota, Cristiano Ronaldo

By Tom Kundert


Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Sign up or login to your account.
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location