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Euros preview: France vs Belgium, Portugal vs Slovenia

France vs Belgium


Euros preview: France vs Belgium, Portugal vs Slovenia

Euros preview: France vs Belgium, Portugal vs Slovenia

France vs Belgium

France are yet to score in open play at these Euros; Belgium were booed by their own supporters after drawing nil-nil with Ukraine in their final group stage game.

It’s fair to say each of these sides have started slowly at this tournament. Kylian Mbappe also managed to break his nose in France’s opening game, though it hasn’t prevented the 25-year-old from playing. Will he play a starring role in Monday’s match at the Dusseldorf Arena?

Didier Deschamps’ side have tended to get the better of their neighbours in recent years, France having turned over Belgium in a semi-final en route to winning the World Cup in 2018. Indeed, the French have won all four of their meetings with Belgium at the World Cup or the Euros.

Belgium have disappointed in recent big tournaments too, exiting the World Cup in Qatar after defeat to Morocco and a draw against Croatia saw them finish third in the group.

But at these Euros, France and Belgium alike have both misfired a fair bit. Alongside Belgium’s draw against the Ukraine, France drew against the Netherlands and Poland – that’s three draws for Les Bleus in their last four matches.

We’d love to see an overload of goal-fuelled mayhem, but let’s face it, sounds like this could be quite cagey. The draw after 90 minutes is a 23/10 shot.

Portugal vs Slovenia

Going into their final group game, Portugal had already ensured progression to the last 16.

But even with Roberto Martinez having made changes to his starting line-up, losing 2-0 to Georgia wasn’t exactly how the coach would have hoped to warm up for the knockout stages.

Perhaps that defeat will serve to rouse Portugal from any complacency. Martinez’s side clearly outweigh this opposition in terms of pure talent.

That said, Slovenia have drawn each of their three group games in these Euros so far; coach Matjaz Kek’s gameplan is presumably to frustrate Cristiano Ronaldo and co.

That said, maybe they can harbour loftier ambitions; Slovenia have already beaten Portugal once in recent months, winning 2-0 back in March.

Kek’s side also kept a clean sheet in their final group stage match against England. True, that’s not the proudest boast, given the Three Lions’ performances so far. Nevertheless, this might not be straightforward for Portugal.

Perhaps Ronaldo isn’t the answer, either –the forward hasn’t scored in his last seven tournament appearances for Portugal. Martinez choosing to drop the 39-year-old seems unlikely however.

In any case, even if CR7 isn’t as reliable as he once was, this talent-packed Portugal side are likely to find a way past this opposition – though we wouldn’t expect a goal-fest. Combine Portugal to win and under 3.5 goals in a double at 8/11 – or add Bruno Fernandes to score or give an assist in a treble at 27/10.

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