Northern Ireland come into this game on the back of a great 1-0 win over Russia hoping to do the same to Ronaldo & Co but they will have to do it without a number of players from that game.
Michael O’Neill will be without defenders Aaron Hughes and Ryan McGivern as well as Craig Cathcart and Daniel Lafferty for this game and have had to call up Chris Baird who doesn’t have a club and Bradford centre back Rory McArdle. It’s going to be a tough ask for O’Neills men with a full strength side to cope with Group F leaders Portugal, but to be without so many first team players then it makes a positive result for the home side even more remote.
Northern Ireland – 11/1 Bet Victor
Draw – 4/1 Ladbrokes
Portugal – 4/11 Bet365
Paulo Bento’s side are unbeaten in five games and having won three of their last four games and only conceded one goal. After a nervy start to the group including the 1-1 draw with Ireland, Portugal have settled down well and have now established themselves at the top of the group and will be looking to continue their recent good form (P5 W3 D2). Cristiano Ronaldo has a slight injury concern but it is thought he will be fine by kick off which will disappoint the whole of Northern Ireland. The Real Madrid man got off the mark for his club at the weekend and with the arrival of Gareth Bale at Madrid don’t be surprised if Ronaldo puts in a 5* performance on Friday night just to let Mr Bale know that he is the main man still at the Bernabeu.
Last time out N. Ireland scored first in Portugal in the 1-1 draw but given Portugal’s improved defensive record and the fact N.Ireland are missing so many key players including Hughes who marked Ronaldo out the game so well last time, I’m going for N. Ireland…. I’m joking, It’s Portugal all the way for me.
Ronaldo to score and Portugal to win – Evs William Hill
Ronaldo to score first – 5/2 Paddy Power
0-1 Portugal Half Time Correct Score – 11/5 Stan James
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