It took a long time for Portugal to finally win a major international championship. The small country had come close a few different times, but they broke through and won Euro 2016 thanks to a very favorable draw. Some surprising results left the bottom half of the bracket stacked with all the top teams so Portugal needed to get past Croatia, Poland, and Wales to reach the final before beating France for their first title. They would love to repeat as champions after a disappointing performance at the 2018 World Cup, and they start qualifying for the Euro 2020 this week by taking on Ukraine and Serbia.
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Portugal vs Serbia
- Date and Time: March 25, 2019, 3:45 p.m. ET
- Location: Estadio da Luz, Lisbon, Portugal
- US Television Coverage: ESPN2
- Betting Line: Portugal -1, O/U 2.5 and 3
Serbia are out to qualify for the European Championship for the first time. They have made it to the World Cup twice, and posted a 1-0-2 record at both the 2010 and 2018 World Cup, but they have yet to make it out of qualifying when it comes to the Euros.
Since losing to Switzerland and Brazil to exit the World Cup in the Group Stage, Serbia have not been as active as some other teams. They have taken part in the Nations League and did well there though. Lithuania, Romania, and Montenegro won’t be confused for quality competition any time in the near future, but they did go 4-2-0 in those games and will be promoted for the next iteration of the competition. Serbia were very impressive in a 1-1 draw in a friendly against Germany on Wednesday.
Portugal have looked sharp since an uninspiring performance at the World Cup. The Portuguese did not look sharp against either Iran or Morocco, and they were sent home in the first game of the knockout round by Uruguay. However, they grabbed the wins they needed in the Nations League over Italy and Poland to make the final, and they also knocked off Scotland in Glasgow.
Serbia Player to Watch
Luka Jovic is one of the top young players in the world. The 21-year-old is already getting a ton of attention from major European clubs, and he has had an incredible season. He scored his first career goal for Serbia in his fourth appearance, and Jovic has run roughshod over the Bundesliga. He has scored 15 goals and five assists for Eintracht Frankfurt, and he has added an additional seven goals in the team’s run to the Europa League Quarterfinals. Serbia played with one forward up front against Germany, but they might opt to pair Jovic with Aleksandar Mitrovic here.
Portugal Player to Watch
Cristiano Ronaldo hasn’t suited up for Portugal since their disappointing exit at the hands of Uruguay. That has given some of their younger players a chance to get some playing time, and it hasn’t come at the extent of diminishing results. Ronaldo has scored 85 goals for Portugal in his career, and he could get to 100 before he calls it a day. He is 34, but he has not slowed down much as he has torn up Serie A.
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Portugal vs Serbia Free Picks
I like Serbia’s chances of picking up a result here. Serbia looked pretty sharp, especially on defense, in their match against Germany. They also have a rest advantage as Portugal will host Ukraine in a challenging game on Friday night before this one. Playing Serbia on the goal line is a solid move.
Portugal vs Serbia Prediction: Portugal 1, Serbia 1
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