Portugal take on the national team from Northern Macedonia in the second round of the 2022 World Cup tie at the Stadio Dragao on Tuesday evening, March 29. The visitors caused a sensation last time round, beating out the Italians – will they do it again? Full statistics and all current odds for the match can be found at 1xbet.ng app download.
The hosts sensationally conceded a direct trip to Qatar to the Serbs, finishing just second in their qualifying group. They have 17 points after eight games. Fernando Santos’ side started their qualification with two wins and a draw in Belgrade, before the Red and Whites headed to the Euros. However, this summer performance could not be called a success for the Portuguese – in the quartet with the Hungarians, French and Germans they managed only a win (0-3 in Budapest), and in the 1/8 finals the team lost to the Belgians with a minimum result and dropped out of the tournament.
That was followed by three qualifying victories in the autumn, but November’s matches made things blurry – first a 0-0 draw in Ireland, then the Portuguese managed to lose the decisive game in Lisbon to the Serbs (1-2), despite being ahead throughout the match. The Southerners beat Turkey 3-1 in the opening round of the play-offs, although they lost a late lead when Yılmaz missed the spot-kick (1.5 per cent).
The visitors were second in their qualifying group, with 18 points from 10 games. The Romanians and Icelanders were left behind, with the German national team predictably in first place. The Macedonians started the qualifying campaign with a 0-2 defeat at the hands of Romania, but then sensationally defeated the Germans away (1-2). The Red-Yellows took part in the Euros in the summer, where they failed to claim any laurels (3 defeats and 0 points). September qualifying resumed with three draws (against Romania, Iceland and Armenia), followed by victories over Liechtenstein, Armenia and Iceland.
After the end of the continental championship, long-time national team leader Goran Pandev announced his retirement. But that didn’t stop the Orange Yellows from causing a sensation in the opening round of the play-offs – the underdogs beat Italy 0-1 in Palermo, leaving the reigning European champions without a World Cup (2,Russ.). However, it was hardly a logical outcome – the opponents took eight times as many shots on goal without capitalising on a number of goalscoring chances.
The teams last met each other in May 2012 in a friendly match and that ended in a nil draw.
Portugal vs Northern Macedonia
I think, the Portuguese will not make the same mistake, as the Italians did, namely, to underestimate the opponent. The hosts are determined to go to Qatar, their squad is one of the strongest on the continent, it is unlikely that the modest Macedonians will be able to pull off a miracle feat for the second time in a row. We’ll bet on Portugal to win with a -1.5 handicap.