Portugal v France
Wednesday 23 June, 20:00 BST kick-off
Live on BBC One
It’s one of the tasty clashes we looked forward to when the Group F draw was made, and it’s a classic encounter between two European heavyweights as already-qualified France face a Portugal side still reeling a bit after a heavy defeat to Germany.
A couple of own goals and some rare defensive lapses saw the Portuguese humbled by a fluent Germany attack, but they’ll surely tighten up, and will need to, as they face the attacking power of the French who could help dump them out of the tournament.
It does have the makings of a classic, but the caveat is that France are definitely through and need just a point to guarantee at least second spot – depending on how Germany get on against Hungary – and there are plenty who feel facing England would be a good draw for them…
Also, a point will be enough for Portugal to get through at least as a best third place side, while they can only go out if they lose and Hungary beat Germany so it’s more a case of avoiding defeat at all costs.
Both sides have pragmatic managers and are known for their safety-first approach – neither side really needs to win this game and Portugal really don’t want to lose.
Fernando Santos’ Portugal finished third in 2016 before being crowned European champions, so they’ll have no qualms about going that route again – it’s all about getting through in tournament football.
So, while we’ve got some of the best attacking talent in the world on show, this could well fall flat on it’s face – and with the last four meetings producing just three goals then under 2.5 here at [1.62} is our first port of call for Wednesday’s Bet Builder.
If we’re going along the lines of both sides shaking hands and being happy with a point, then we must go low on bookings – as both teams have only seen one yellow card each in two games so far.
Under 3.5 bookings weighs in at 1.538/15 and even gives us some breathing space given no game in this group has seen more than two total yellows in it so far.
Finally, although an early goal and more comedy defending from Portugal could change the complexion of the game, given what both sides need then it makes no real sense to go out all guns blazing.
Both sides don’t really operate that way even if there have been goals in Portugal’s games so far.
Hungary showed that you can frustrate France and Portugal could go down the same road, which brings the half-time draw right into our crosshairs at 1.9110/11.
All that added up brings our Bet Builder out at around 4.03/1.