Wednesday June 21, 16:00
Live on ITV 4
First, a bit of housekeeping. Our mate Tobias had a fine end to the week, as he nabbed two winners from three Confederations Cup bets across the weekend. The standard's been set.
Now we switch our attention to the hosts Russia, as they look to follow up their victory over New Zealand with a victory against Portugal. Russia were comfortable winners in their opener, but that says more about the merits of New Zealand than the quality of the home side. As hosts of next year's World Cup, the Russians are short of competitive action to sharpen them up, while Wednesday's opponents Portugal are still in the midst of a qualifying campaign.
It speaks volumes about Portugal's squad depth that they could afford to leave players like playmaker Bernardo Silva out of their starting XI for the 2-2 draw with Mexico on Sunday. Fernando Santos' European champions were moments away from opening their campaign with a win, only for Hector Moreno to snatch a 91st-minute leveller.
Given that Gelson Martins and new Milan signing Andre Silva only came on as subs against Mexico, and Bernardo Silva didn't play at all, Santos has plenty of scope to freshen up his side if needed. Skipper Cristiano Ronaldo will once again hope to focus on football, rather than speculation about a potentially momentous exit from Real Madrid.
Portugal are trading at a shade over evens to win this, and although Russia have some quality players (I particularly like Krasnodar striker Fyodor Smolov), I just don't think they'll be able to step up to the level needed to contain a star-studded and in-form Portugal team.
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