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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Portugal can conclude World Cup preparations with smooth win over Algeria

Hosts welcome back Ronaldo for final warm-up game

Portugal skipper Cristiano Ronaldo
1 of 1

International friendly 
8.15pm Thursday

A run of three matches without victory does not bode well for Portugal going into the World Cup but the Euro 2016 champions can round off tournament preparations with a comfortable win over Algeria at the Estadio da Luz.

Fernando Santos’s side held Tunisia and Belgium in their recent encounters, following a 3-0 defeat to Holland in March, but they will be buoyed by the return of skipper Cristiano Ronaldo, who had been rested following his involvement in the Champions League final.

With just four goals conceded, Portugal boasted one of the tightest defences in qualifying and they are preparing to face Spain, Morocco and Iran in Group B in Russia.

After an abysmal World Cup qualifying campaign, Algeria set their sights on September’s start to African Cup of Nations qualifying.

They will need to improve their performance levels dramatically after defeats to Iran, Saudi Arabia and Cape Verde in their last three matches.

The final 23-man squad selected by Santos blends youth, in the form of Goncalo Guedes and Gelson Martins, with the experience of Pepe, Bruno Alves and Jose Fonte, and the national team coach can use the Algeria clash as a final opportunity to work out his best starting 11.

Algeria finished bottom of their group without a win in qualifying and could be easy pickings for a Portugal team who will want to shock their rivals in Russia just as they did in France at Euro 2016.

Portugal to win to nil
2pts Evs BoyleSports, Sky Bet

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With just four goals conceded, Portugal boasted one of the tightest defences in qualifying
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