Luxembourg - Portugal Preview: The Navigators want to smash scoring record against minnows
The tiny European state host the might of the Euro 2012 semi-finalists, with the "sad" Cristiano Ronaldo and his team-mates keen to break their nation's eight-goal winning margin
By Tom J Doyle
Hoffman, Blaise, Schnell,
Bettmer, Peters, Leweck, Gerson, Payal, Mutsch, Joachim
Pereira, Coelho, Pepe, Coentrao
Moutinho, Meireles, Veloso
Ronaldo, Oliveira, Nani
Luxembourg go into this clash against the Euro 2012 semi-finalists with a fully-fit squad, so Luc Holtz will be able to name his strongest side against Portugal.
Aurelien Joachim will be looking to build on his tally of four international goals to cause a shock upset for Holtz's men.
Read Madrid duo Cristiano Ronaldo (thigh) and Pepe (ankle) should both return to the Portugal side despite missing training with slight injuries.
Raul Meireles may get a start despite a lack of playing time following his late move to Fenerbache, and he should be joined in the middle by Tottenham's failed target Joao Moutinho.
Nelson Oliveira should got the nod up front from Paulo Bento after impressing with a stunning goal against Panama.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Portugal thrashed Luxembourg 5-0 the last time the sides met in August 2011.
- The Portuguese side have won just four of their nine games, despite reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2012.
- Paulo Bento's side moved up to fourth place in the world rankings after a 2-0 victory against Panama in August.
- Portugal beat Liechtenstein 8-0 in both 1994 and 1999, and may well break their scoring record if they are on form on Friday.
- Cristiano Ronaldo (pictured right) has 36 international goals for Portugal in 96 appearances for his county.
- Paulo Bento has been in charge of Portugal since 2010, winning 12 of his 20 games in charge, with four draws and four losses.
- Luxembourg gained five points out of a possible 30 in the qualifying group for the 2010 World Cup, and only got four from a possible 30 when trying to qualify for Euro 2012.
- Luc Holtz's side's 2-1 win against Albania in August 2011 was only their third competitive win in four years of Euro and World Cup qualifying campaigns. In the same time they have registered 24 losses.
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Top 3 Predictions
Luxembourg 0-5 Portugal
- 20.38 %
Luxembourg 0-3 Portugal
- 14.97 %
Luxembourg 0-4 Portugal
- 12.74 %
|World Cup Qualification 2014 (Europe) (WCQE)||7 Sep 2012||Luxembourg 1 - Portugal 2|
|International Friendlies (FR)||10 Aug 2011||Portugal 5 - Luxembourg 0|
|International Friendlies (FR)||3 Jun 2006||Luxembourg 0 - Portugal 3|
|26 Mar 2013||Luxembourg 0 - Finland 3||FR|
|22 Mar 2013||Luxembourg 0 - Azerbaijan 0||WCQE|
|5 Feb 2013||Luxembourg 1 - Armenia 1||FR|
|14 Nov 2012||Luxembourg 1 - Scotland 2||FR|
|16 Oct 2012||Israel 3 - Luxembourg 0||WCQE|
|Returns:||Luxembourg £4010.00||Sign up with bet365 for a free bet up to £200|
|Returns:||Draw £190.00||Sign up with bet365 for a free bet up to £200|
|Returns:||Portugal £10.20||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|9||D. da Mota||Striker|
With little in the way of a potent attack, Holtz will have to rely on his tricky forward Joachim to catch Pepe and his cohorts unawares. The Willem II forward may struggle in a lone role, but he has the ability to cause Portugal problems on the counter.
Despite all eyes invariably drifting towards Ronaldo, Nani will be looking at this game with a point to prove - especially to his club manager, Sir Alex Ferguson. After a poor showing for Manchester United in the opening day defeat to Everton, the winger was unceremoniously dropped from the next squad against Fulham, only to be restored to the bench the next week and provide the winning assist at Southampton. While he has had an inconsistent start to the season, Nani usually lights up the Portugal side, and will relish the freedom of the flanks against Luxembourg.
It is difficult to look past Portugal for this one. Expect a spirited display and rousing home support, but the Portuguese have too many good attacking players to let three points slip through their fingers. The perturbed wonder that is Ronaldo may have a field day if he is in the mood for goals, which he usually is, and a drubbing is certainly on the cards.
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed