Latvia and Portugal resume their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaigns this Friday, June 9th when they face each other at the Skonto Stadion in the Latvia’s capital city of Riga. Portugal needs to pull their socks up if they hope to win the Group B while Latvia is trying to play the spoiler role. Switzerland sits on top of the group with 15 points followed by Portugal with 12. Hungary has seven, the Faroe Islands have five while Latvia has four and Andorra sits in the basement with just one point.
Latvia vs Portugal – bet365 Soccer Betting Line:
- bet365 currently lists Portugal as the favorites to win the game at 1/8 with Latvia 14/1 and a draw at 8/1
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Latvia vs Portugal – Head to Head:
- These two teams have met just five times in the past in competitive games with Portugal going unbeaten with five wins. They’ve also outscored Latvia 15-4 in those games. Their last meeting was a World Cup qualifier in Portugal on November 13th with the home side winning 4-1 in Faro.
Latvia – A Closer Look:
Latvia enters the match in fifth place in the six-team group with just three points. They have a win and four defeats with just two goals scored and nine allowed. The team is ranked number 124 in the world by FIFA and has five straight losses in their past five contests. They were thumped 5-0 in Georgia in their last match in March, which was a FIFA friendly.
Latvia is currently managed by Aleksandrs Starkovs with Kaspars Gorkss being the squad’s captain. The team is hoping to qualify for its first ever World Cup, but it seems extremely unlikely they’ll earn a spot at next year’s tournament in Russia. Latvia made its debut in 1922 and did manage to qualify for the European Championships in Portugal in 2004 though. The highest the team has been ranked by FIFA was 45th in the world in 2009.
Portugal – A Closer Look:
Portugal, which made its international debut in 1921, enters the game in second place in Group A in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup. They have 12 points from four wins and a loss with a group-high 19 goals scored and a group-low three against. Portugal is currently the eighth ranked team in the world by FIFA and has four wins and a loss in their last five contests. Their last outing was a 3-2 home loss at the hands of Sweden in March and they have a tune-up game against Cyprus on June 2nd.
The Portuguese side is currently managed by Fernando Santos with Cristiano Ronaldo as the captain. They have qualified for six World Cups in the past with their best showing being third place in both 1966 in England and 2006 in Germany. However, they did manage to win the European Championships in France in 2016 when they beat the hosts 1-0 in extra time. Portugal went unbeaten with seven straight wins in the vent. Their highest ever FIFA ranking was 2nd in the world in June of 2006.
Latvia vs Portugal – Takeaway:
- Portugal can tie the Swiss for first place if they win and Switzerland loses while Latvia could move from fifth to fourth with the right results. There are nine European groups of six teams with the group winners automatically qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The eight second-place teams with the best records will enter a two-game playoff series.
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