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WC Qualification Europe

  • September 11, 2012
  • • 20:15
  • • Estádio AXA, Braga
  • Referee: S. Marciniak
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Portugal - Azerbaijan Preview: Seleccao seeking three more points in Braga

Portugal - Azerbaijan Preview: Seleccao seeking three more points in Braga

Cristiano ronaldo in Portugal Training camps

The Euro 2012 semi-finalists will be targeting for another win, but a far more impressive performance, after kicking off their campaign with a laboured 2-1 victory in Luxembourg

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

PORTUGAL

Rui Patricio
Pereira, Bruno Alves, Pepe, Coentrao
Moutinho, Meireles, Veloso
Ronaldo, Postiga, Nani

AZERBAIJAN

Agayev
Allahverdiyev, Medvedev, Abisov, Sadygov 
Sukurov, Chertoganov, Gokdemir
Subasic, Aliyev, Javadov


Portugal boss Paulo Bento is expected to name an uncharged starting lineup for Tuesday night's 2014 World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan.

The Seleccao kicked off their Group F campaign with a distinctly underwhelming 2-1 victory over Luxembourg, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Helder Postiga replying to Daniel da Mota's early opener.

However, in spite of the paucity of the performance, Bento is set to keep faith with the 11 he fielded at the Stade Josy Barthel.

That means that Postiga will again occupy the central striking role, with Nelson Oliviera again forced to make do with a seat on the bench.

In addition, right-back Joao Pereira and midfielder Miguel Veloso will get a chance to make amends for dismal performances against Luxembourg.

Meanwhile, it will also be a case of same again for Azerbaijan, with coach Berti Vogts likely to field the same players that held Isreal to a highly creditable 1-1 draw in their opening game last Friday.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Portugal boss Paulo Bento is poised to name the same starting lineup for the seventh time in eight games.
  • The Seleccao's opponents in Braga, Azerbaijan, are ranked joint-107th in the world, one place below Luxembourg.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo's strike against Luxembourg means he has now racked up 39 goals in 97 appearances for his country.
  • These two nations have met on four previous occasions, having been drawn in the same qualification group for Euro 2000 and Euro 2008.
  • Portugal routed Azerbaijan 7-0 in their first meeting, in Guimaraes in March 1999, but they needed a last-minute equaliser from Luis Figo to snatch a 1-1 draw in Baku six months later.
  • The Seleccao, though, won both games during the Euro 2008 qualifiers, winning 3-0 at home, with Cristiano Ronaldo netting a double, and 2-0 away.
  • Azerbaijan have yet to qualify for a major tournament since securing their independence in 1991.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
12Rui PatricioGoalkeeper
2Bruno AlvesDefender
5Fabio CoentraoDefender
21João PereiraDefender
3PepeDefender
8Joao MoutinhoMidfielder
4Miguel VelosoMidfielder
17NaniStriker
16Raúl MeirelesMidfielder
7C. RonaldoStriker
23Hélder PostigaStriker
22BetoGoalkeeper
1EduardoGoalkeeper
-Miguel Lopes
-Nuno Coelho
13Ricardo CostaDefender
-Custodio
-Ruben AmorimMidfielder
15Rubén MicaelMidfielder
-ÉderStriker
-Nélson Oliveira
-Pizzi
18Silvestre VarelaStriker
Players to Watch
Nani
Nani
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 17
Games Goals YC RC
10 1 1 0
The Manchester United winger was one of several players to disappoint in Luxembourg, eventually replaced 10 minutes from time after contributing little to the game. Consequently, the pressure is very much on Nani to produce the kind of electric display he is capable of in Braga. Nani has spent the past few days commenting on Cristiano Ronaldo's current mental state but his own demeanour is currently of just as much concern. Therefore, it will be fascinating to see how he performs on the night.
Vagif Javadov
Vagif Javadov
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 7
Games Goals YC RC
6 1 2 0

One of the most exciting young players Azerbaijan has produced in recent years, Javadov came through the youth team ranks at CSKA Moscow before making his name with Qarabag. Indeed, he earned himself a move to Twente in December 2009 but his time in Netherlands was blighted by injuries and he was loaned and he has now ended up back at Qarabag. However, the 23-year-old remains a player of great promise.

Prediction
The Seleccao were dire in Luxembourg but they still managed to come away with all three points. That will be the target again in Braga but you can be certain that the Portuguese public will not tolerate another lacklustre display, this time on home soil. So, expect a backlash - even if Azerbaijan, as they proved against Israel, are likely to provide stern resistance.
Editor's Prediction

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