Wednesday 5 June: 7.45pm KO
Live on Sky Sports
The UEFA Nations League finals begin on Wednesday with the hosts Portugal taking on Switzerland. The winners take on England or the Netherlands in the final on Sunday to determine the first ever winners of this new tournament.
Portugal are the current European champions after their triumph in France three years ago. This week they bid to add the inaugural UEFA Nations League title to their trophy cabinet and are the tournament hosts. They can be backed at 15/8 (2.87) with Bet365 to overcome Switzerland and then the winners of the England v Netherlands semi-final to win the UEFA Nations League.
Their 2018 World Cup campaign wasn’t a great success with elimination in the last 16, losing to Uruguay and winning just one of their four matches. After a 1-1 draw with World Cup losing finalists Croatia, Portugal began their UEFA Nations League group but were without Cristiano Ronaldo due to his off-the-field problems.
Portugal have often been described as a one-man team but they progressed well without him. They kicked their group off with a 2-0 home win over Italy and a 3-2 victory in Poland with Andre Silva scoring in both games. Portugal drew their final two group matches to run out winners by three points from Italy with Poland relegated.
Drawing is becoming a bit of a problem for the Portuguese with both of their Euro 2020 qualifiers ending level. It’s 14/5 (3.8) at Unibet on this match against Switzerland being drawn. They do however have Cristiano Ronaldo back for this tournament and he’s 11/5 (3.2) at SportPesa to score the first goal in this match.
There have been plenty of surprise comebacks in the past year and one of them came from Switzerland but there’s another on its way later in this preview. They also had a disappointing World Cup last year despite the promise shown when drawing with Brazil. Their hopes ended with a 1-0 defeat by Sweden in the last 16 and they are 7/1 (8.0) at William Hill to win the UEFA Nations League title.
Their UEFA Nations League campaign began with a 6-0 home beating of Iceland but was followed by a 2-1 defeat away to Belgium. Switzerland got back on track with a 2-1 win in Iceland leading to a decider at home to Belgium that Switzerland needed to win by two clear goals
It wasn’t looking good for the Swiss as they trailed 2-0 after 17 minutes thanks to two goals from Thorgan Hazard (if one doesn’t get you, the other will). Amazingly, Switzerland recovered to win the game 5-2 and reach this semi-final.
Since then, they have earned four points from their first two Euro 2020 qualifiers. It should have been six but a 3-0 home lead over Denmark with just six minutes remaining, ended in a 3-3 draw. Switzerland are 5/1 (6.0) at Betfair to win this semi-final but they need to tighten up at the back.
The two countries met in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers with both matches ending in a home win. The last three games between Portugal and Switzerland have all ended 2-0. The odds on a 2-0 win for Portugal are 7/1 (8.0) at Betred. if you think Switzerland will get a 2-0 win, then Ladbrokes will give you 28/1 (29.0).
Portugal have included Benfica wonderkid Joao Felix in their squad. Switzerland will be without Admir Mehmedi and Breel Embolo and are likely to include Haris Seferovic and Josip Drmic.
Low Scoring Encounter?
Portugal’s recent games haven’t seen that many goals scored with all of their last four having under 2.5 goals scored. That stat has also come up in the last five games played between these two countries. It’s 3/4 (1.75) at BoyleSports that there will be under 2.5 goals scored in this match.
Portugal have home advantage for this game and it’s 50 years since Switzerland last beat them on home soil. Neither side come into this game in great form but the return of Ronaldo should tip the scales in favour of the home team. Coral will give you 4/6 (1.66) that Portugal can win this game in 90 minutes.