Portugal will target a sixth consecutive win when they travel to Ireland for their World Cup 2022 Qualifying Group A fixture on Thursday night. The former Euro winners have been in scintillating form lately, scoring 16 goals and conceding just twice in their last five matches in all competitions.
Their impressive run of form has left them in second place in Group A with a game in hand, one point behind leaders Serbia. Ireland, on the other hand, have already crashed out of the qualifying race and will be playing for pride in front of their fans
On paper, it might look like a one-sided affair, but we must not rule out the sport’s penchant for extraordinary surprises.
With that in mind, let us take a look at the five predictions as Portugal take on Ireland in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.
#5 Callum Robinson to score again for the hosts
Ireland may have bid the Qualifiers adieu, but that should not keep us from celebrating their in-form talisman Callum Robinson. The West Bromwich Albion star has been scoring for fun lately and could be a handful for Portugal on Thursday night.
Like his teammates, Robinson, too, was late to the party. He fired blanks in the first five matches, but came to life with a brace in the 0-3 win against Azerbaijan. He struck first in the seventh minute and followed it up another just before half-time.
Ireland’s “CR7” then scored an impressive hat-trick in the 4-0 friendly win against Qatar, scoring the first two in the first 13 minutes.
Portugal are considerably stronger than the two opponents he has scored against. However, we will still not bet against him adding to his tally on Thursday.
#4 Fernando Santos to take the fight to Ireland in the first half
Portugal coach Fernando Santos has faced a lot of criticism for not utilizing the attacking talents at his disposal. Against Ireland, he will have the opportunity and reason to let loose and, we believe, that is exactly what he will do.
Santos’ Portugal are comfortable on the ball and should dominate possession against Ireland. Expect quicker movement and more men inside the box in the first half.
If Portugal score, they could drop back and defend deep in the second 45, conserving energy for the upcoming table-topping clash with Serbia.