UEFA Nations League: Poland vs Portugal preview

Portugal are looking to continue their strong start in the UEFA Nations League when they visit Poland at Stadion Slaski in Chorzow on Thursday. The two teams last met at the 2016 European Championship, which Portugal won eventually, and Portugal won that quarter-finals match after a tense penalty shoot-out. The last three direct matches ended in draws, including that quarter-final at Euro 2016, and before that Poland recorded a 2-1 victory over Portugal at the 2006 World Cup. The last time Portugal won against Poland was at the 2002 World Cup, when Pauleta scored a hat-trick in a 4-0 victory.

After the poor showing at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Poland got themselves a fresh start under new head coach Jerzy Brzeczek and the results have been decent so far. They started with a 1-1 draw in Italy in their first UEFA Nations League match, and a few days later they recorded a 1-1 friendly draw against the Republic of Ireland. Poland even had the lead in the match against Italy, Piotr Zielinski put them ahead before half time and they held on to that advantage until the 78th minute. The new head coach has made some changes in his first two matches in charge and the experiments might continue here as he tries to find the optimal set up for the team.

Portugal kicked off their UEFA Nations League campaign with a 1-0 victory over Italy, a result which takes them to the top of Group 3 in the top-flight of the competition. Sevilla forward Andre Silva scored the only goal of that match, while a few days earlier Pepe scored for Portugal in the 1-1 friendly draw with Croatia. Cristiano Ronaldo has not played in those two matches and he won't play in Poland either, he was not called up to the squad, probably because of the rape scandal he is involved in. Goncalo Guedes is also out of contention, but for medical reasons as he has picked up an injury while playing for Valencia last weekend.

Probable line-ups:

Poland: Fabianski - Bereszynski, Glik, Bednarek, Reka - Kurzawa, Krychowiak, Klich, Blaszczykowski - Zielinski - Lewandowski

Portugal: Patricio - Cancelo, Pepe, Dias, Rui - Pizzi, Neves, Carvalho - B. Silva, A. Silva, Bruma

My prediction: 1-1 draw, these two sides seem evenly balanced at the moment as Portugal are missing their star player.

Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

Poland win - 2.90
Draw - 3.20
Portugal win - 2.70

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