Spain and Portugal set for exciting encounter
Goals on menu for Iberian rivals
European Under-21 Championship
Sky Sports 1, 7.45pm Tuesday
Group B heavyweights Portugal and Spain put down markers on Saturday with victories to nil against Serbia and Macedonia, although in terms of performance the Iberian rivals were poles apart.
While the Portuguese struggled to see off the Serbs – Bruno Fernandes settled their nerves late on, clinching a 2-0 win thanks to a piece of genius from Renato Sanches – Spain were sublime against Macedonia, winning 5-0.
Now it’s quite possible – indeed highly likely – that Serbia are far better than the Macedonians and therefore it might be dangerous to read too much into one-match form.
But it’s no surprise that the layers have reacted to Saturday’s fare by making Albert Celades’ men odds-on shots. When it clicks between the likes of Saul Niguez, Denis Suarez and Marco Asensio, the Spaniards are world class.
Portugal were free-spirited, free scorers in qualifying – only Germany bagged more – but, like their senior compatriots, they seemed to prefer to retreat into their shells at the finals. Excellent for half an hour against Serbia, once they went in front they almost stopped playing.
They will endeavour to play a containing game against the Spanish but these are two sides with bags of goals in them. A point apiece would be handy for each side, but an early goal could trigger a feast of net busting.
Over 2.5 goals
1pt Evens bet365
Renato Sanches was surprisingly left out of the starting line-up against Serbia although he came off the bench to set up the second goal so should earn a start.
La Roja are not expected to make many changes to the side who beat Macedonia 5-0 although midfielder Marcos Llorente picked up a late knock.