With one eye on the Nations League finals in their own country later this year, Portugal will look to warm up in style as they kick off the road to their defence of their European Championship crown with the visit of Ukraine.
Fernando Santos’s side welcome Andriy Shevchenko and his team to the Estadio da Luz for their first game in Group B as they look to being qualification for next year’s continental tournament on the best possible foot.
Cristiano Ronaldo will once again be expected to transplant his excellent club form onto the international stage to help fire his nation forward as they look to defend the biggest piece of silverware earned in their history.
Their visitors however will be determined to acquit themselves, particularly after missing out on reaching the World Cup in Russia last year, with their own sturdy Nations League record likely to ensure that they at least give their hosts a run for their money.
|Game||Portugal vs Ukraine|
|Date||Friday, March 22|
|Time||7:45pm GMT / 3:45pm ET|
|Stream (US)||fubo TV (7-day free trial)|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game can be watched live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial) .
New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
|Univision Deportes En Vivo||fubo TV (7-day free trial)|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game will be broadcast on Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Mix, while it will be livestreamed on the Sky Go app.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|Sky Sports Premier League/Sky Sports Mix||Sky Go|
Squads & Team News
|Goalkeepers||Rui Patricio, Beto, Sa|
|Defenders||Pepe, Fonte, Cancelo, Rui, Semedo, Dias, Guerreiro|
|Midfielders||Moutinho, Carvalho, Mario, Pereira, Pizzi, Neves|
|Forwards||Ronaldo, Bernardo Silva, Andre Silva, Guedes, Rafa Silva, Sousa, Jota, Felix|
Cristiano Ronaldo returns to captain the hosts having missed their last game in November. The Juventus forward will lead out a strong-looking team named by coach Fernando Santos with the likes of Pepe, Joao Moutinho, Bernardo Silva and Ruben Neves all in the starting XI.
Portugal starting XI: Rui Patricio, Cancelo, Pepe, Dias, Guerreiro, Neves, Carvalho, Moutinho, Bernardo Silva, Ronaldo, Andre Silva.
|Goalkeepers||Pyatov, Boyko, Lunin|
|Defenders||Butko, Karavayev, Matviyenko, Sobol, Kryvtsov, Burda, Mykolenko, Shabanov|
|Midfielders||Stepanenko, Konoplyanka, Sydorchuk, Zinchenko, Bezus, Kovalenko, Malinovskyi, Tsyhankov, Marlos, Buyalskyi, Shaparenko, Bolbat, Shepelyev|
|Forwards||Kravets, Yaremchuk, Junior Moraes|
After missing out on a place at Russia last year, Andriy Shevchenko has inspired his side back to success with a similar mixture of old hands and new faces.
One player likely to have an impact will be Manchester City midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko, who despite his relative youth, brings a maturity to the centre of the park for his nation.
Ukraine starting XI: Pyatov, Kryvtsov, Stepanenko, Malinovskyi, Konoplyanka, Marlos, Mykolenko, Zinchenko, Yaremchuk, Karavaev, Matviyenk.
Betting & Match Odds
Portugal are the odds-on favourites at 2/5 to prevail with bet365, while a draw is available at 3/1. A win for Ukraine is priced at 9/1.
With a Nations League finals appearance secured on home turf for June, Portugal will look to warm up for their crack at silverware by preparing to defend their other title when they play their first game of 2019 on Friday.
A Selecao das Quinas were the victors in the 2016 European Championships, winning their first major honour in world football, and will now begin their road to next year’s tournament to defend their crown.
Drawn in Group B where they are both the nominal top seed and favourites, they will still be wary of their visitors as they host their key qualification rivals Ukraine straight out of the gate.
Andriy Shevchenko’s side are the other likely favourite to secure progression from a quintet that also includes Serbia, Lithuania and Luxembourg, particularly after a promising Nations League campaign of their own.
As such, they will be determined to carry forward their promising momentum into a successful qualification campaign, particularly after finishing last in France in 2016, in contrast to their opponents.
With prospective international retirement yet to rise like a spectre on the horizon, Cristiano Ronaldo will likely captain Portugal through their qualification campaign and to the Nations League too.
His team boosts a number of experienced players as well as four uncapped individuals, included Wolves forward Diogo Jota.
The 22-year-old is one of four players from the Premier League club, more than any other team represented in the squad.
Shevchenko meanwhile includes only one player without international experience, Junior Moraes, who could be in line to make his first appearance for his adopted nation at the age of 31.