1.50 Newbury - Friday
Horse Racing analyst Will Smith has had a good look at all this weekend's ante-post markets, and provides a 7/1 EW selection in the Grade 2 novices' chase at Newbury on Friday.
In this highly anticipated European Championship qualifying clash, Portugal is set to lock horns with Slovakia. A win for Portugal in this fixture would not only solidify their position at the summit of Group J but also guarantee their place in the Euro 2024 finals with three games to spare. In contrast, Slovakia currently occupy the second spot in the group, having accumulated 13 points from their initial six matches.
|Portugal vs Slovakia Betting Tips|
Portugal have been nothing short of remarkable in Group J, securing six consecutive victories, amassing an impressive 18 points. This places them comfortably ahead of their nearest competitors, Slovakia, who trail by five points. An additional distinction is the eight-point gap that separates Portugal from Luxembourg, a team in third place with the same number of games played.
Roberto Martinez’s side faces a straightforward equation: a victory here would secure their place at Euro 2024, remarkably, with three games still to be played. Even a draw could be sufficient, provided that Luxembourg doesn’t overcome Iceland in their concurrent fixture, also scheduled for Friday.
Portugal enter this match following a resounding 9-0 win over Luxembourg last month. During that fixture, Goncalo Inacio, Goncalo Ramos, and Diogo Jota all showcased their prowess by scoring braces. The Iberian side are currently unbeaten since their memorable 1-0 loss to Morocco in the quarter-finals of the 2022 World Cup. They are poised to be formidable contenders in the forthcoming European Championship, aiming to replicate their success from the 2016 tournament.
Portugal boasts an impressive record against Slovakia, having won four of their last five encounters. In the reverse match just last month, Portugal secured a 1-0 victory, with Bruno Fernandes delivering the decisive goal.
Slovakia, on the other hand, occupy a respectable second position in the group, with 13 points under their belt. Their record includes four wins, one draw, and one defeat. Notably, they’ve conceded just twice throughout their campaign in Group J.
Francesco Calzona’s side began their journey with a surprising draw against Luxembourg at home but rebounded swiftly with wins against Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iceland, and Liechtenstein. Their winning streak was interrupted with a 1-0 loss to Portugal on September 8, but they swiftly returned to the winning ways, clinching a 3-0 victory against Liechtenstein. Impressively, they’ve scored three times in the opening six minutes of that contest.
Slovakia have participated in three major tournaments, including the 2010 World Cup, in addition to the European Championships in 2016 and 2020. They made it to the last-16 stage in Euro 2016 but faced an early exit in the group stage of the 2020 competition. Furthermore, they were unable to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Portugal manager Roberto Martinez has added teenager Joao Neves to his squad, presenting him with an opportunity to showcase his talent in the upcoming matches. Cristiano Ronaldo, despite being 38 years old, remains central to Martinez’s plans. Ronaldo is expected to start at centre-forward, with Bernardo Silva joining him in the XI, and Diogo Jota possibly featuring on the opposite flank.
Slovakia’s top goalscorer, Robert Mak, is set to play a crucial role in their attacking setup. Michal Tomic might start as the right-back, and Milan Skriniar is likely to lead the team’s defense. In the midfield, Ondrej Duda and Stanislav Lobotka should be joined by Laszlo Benes.
Portugal: D. Costa; Dalot, A. Silva, Dias, Cancelo; Vitinha, Palhinha, Fernandes; B. Silva, Ronaldo, Jota
Slovakia: Dubravka; Tomic, Gyomber, Skriniar, Hancko; Duda, Lobotka, Benes; Mak, Bozenik, Haraslin
While Slovakia are certainly a team deserving of respect, Portugal are in a formidable form at present. We anticipate that Portugal, under Roberto Martinez’s guidance, will clinch their seventh consecutive victory in the group, securing a comfortable win with a predicted scoreline of Portugal 2-0 Slovakia.