Tobias Gourlay reckons a local derby in southern Europe could be the pick of tonight’s international friendlies
Portugal v Spain
In Brazil last night, Ponte Preta shut out Guarani 2-0 to send the visitors – and us – home with nothing. International football kicks in tonight and we’re in Lisbon for the friendly clash between Iberian neighbours Portugal and Spain. We fancy both sets of fans should have something to cheer.
Last month, Portugal scored six times in winning a pair of Nations League matches against Croatia (4-1) and Sweden (2-0). They start as slight favourites to win this evening’s derby game. However, across the last three years, the Portuguese have played six friendlies on home or neutral turf and conceded in five of them. The US, Egypt, the Netherlands, Tunisia and Croatia have all found ways through them. There’s little reason to suppose Spain cannot cross the border and do the same.
Spain beat Ukraine 4-0 in their most recent Nations League match, having previously drawn 1-1 in Germany. They have scored in 12 straight friendlies since a surprise defeat to Georgia four years ago. Both teams to score was the right bet in 5/7 of the most recent of those games and that’s the bet we’re making on this evening’s derby.