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Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Portugal to come out all-guns blazing

Spain to ring the changes against Serbia

Spain's Marco Asensio (left) and Saul Niguez
1 of 1

Serbia v Spain & Macedonia v Portugal
Sky Sports 1 & 5, 7.45pm Friday

Portugal are likely to push for a high-scoring victory over Macedonia in their final European Under-21 Championship Group B match as they seek to give themselves the best possible chance of qualifying for the semi-finals as the best of the second-placed teams.

The battle for first place was settled on Tuesday when Spain defeated Portugal 3-1 in Gdynia, putting themselves in an unassailable position.

Portugal played well enough against Spain but aside from goalscorer Bruma they lacked a clinical edge in front of goal and were far from perfect at the back.

Rui Jorge's side face an easier task against Macedonia and are red-hot favourites to secure the points.

However, Macedonia did not arrive in Poland to make up the numbers and are still in with an outside chance of finishing second.

The Macedonians love to play on the front foot but were taught a harsh lesson in the opening match against Spain, losing 5-0 despite bossing the shot count 24 to 11.

There was a better balance to their play against Serbia on Tuesday and they were disappointed to draw 2-2 after conceding a 90th-minute equaliser.

Macedonia have one more chance to register a victory and are likely to continue with their offensive strategy.

They look capable of getting on the scoresheet but Portugal should get the three points they crave in what promises to be a lively encounter.

Spain head coach Albert Celades is likely to make several changes for the match with Serbia in Bydgoszcz, making it more likely that the Iberians' 100 per cent record will come to an end.

It has been a strange tournament for Spain, who have scored eight goals and conceded one despite losing the aggregate shot count 46 to 21.

Their quality has been apparent in both boxes but they may not be as efficient if Celades rests the majority of his star players.

Serbia have been a major disappointment after qualifying in impressive style – they took 23 points from 30 in Group Two and defeated Norway in the playoffs.

However, they will look to sign off with a decent performance and are worth backing to add to their points tally.

Recommendations
Portugal to win and both teams to score
1pt 2-1 general
Serbia or draw double chance
1pt 8-5 bet365


Team news
Macedonia
Nikola Gjorgjev scored after coming off the bench against Serbia, pressing his claims for inclusion from the start.

Portugal
Bruma scored a stunning volley as a substitute in the 3-1 loss to Spain. He looks set to start as head coach Rui Jorge ponders changes.

Team news
Serbia
Centre-back Radovan Pankov is suspended after his red card in the 2-2 draw with Macedonia.

Spain
Wholesale changes are likely after Spain clinched first place with successive victories.

Key stats
Macedonia have scored in nine of their last ten matches.

Serbia have lost only two of their last nine competitive games.

Serbia have been a major disappointment after qualifying in impressive style
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