Portugal vs North Macedonia World Cup Prediction, Odds, Picks
- Portugal beat Turkey on Thursday and are one win away from the 2022 World Cup
- North Macedonia stunned Italy in their play-off semi-final last week
- Portugal should get the job done despite their opponents’ recent heroics
Portugal vs North Macedonia Odds
Portugal vs North Macedonia Pick
Back Portugal to win both halves (-140)
North Macedonia put a lot into Thursday’s match and they will struggle to repeat the feat against Fernando Santos’ side.
This is an alternative to betting moneyline, which is never appealing in games like this where there is a heavy favorite and a clear underdog.
If you would like to learn more about how to bet on soccer, we have put together a guide that looks at various approaches and gives you a rundown of some of the key terms you will need to know.
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Portugal vs North Macedonia Predictions
North Macedonia Stunned Italy in Extraordinary Semi-final
At the 1950 World Cup, a United States team made up of part-timers beat England 1-0. In the opening game of the 2002 tournament, the holders and favorites France were beaten by Senegal.
At Euro 2016, England was knocked out by Iceland in the first knockout round. Those matches are widely regarded as some of the biggest shocks in the history of international soccer. And now we have another to add to the list.
Going into Thursday’s play-off semi-final, even the most optimistic of North Macedonia supporters would not have expected the minnows to actually beat Italy.
It was not just that the Azzurri were playing on home soil in Palermo; they are also the reigning European champions. Italy may have let the top spot in their World Cup qualification group slip, but they were the best team on the continent at Euro 2020 last summer, playing technical, tactical, attack-minded soccer that made them look like a club side.
On the balance of play, Italy did enough to win. They took 32 shots to their opponents’ four. Expected goals, a tool that measures chance quality by assigning a numerical value to each attempt based on its likelihood of going in, had it 2 vs 0.1 in Italy’s favor.
Yet North Macedonia dug deep. They defended with discipline, organization, and heart. And in second-half stoppage time, Aleksandar Trajkovski hit a sweet strike that flew into the bottom corner, sending North Macedonia through to Tuesday’s final.
They still have another mountain to climb against Portugal, but whatever happens, the win in Sicily will live long in the memories of everyone connected with the national team.
Beating the European champions on their own soil in a high-stakes encounter is no mean feat for anyone, let alone a country of just over two million people.
Portugal Warned They Must Not Take Opponents Lightly
There is no doubt that Portugal will be much happier facing North Macedonia than they would have been coming up against Italy. The outcome of Thursday’s game does not change that.
Soccer is a low-scoring game, making it easier for the favorites to slip up than in other sports. If you replayed Italy vs North Macedonia 10 times, the former would win at least eight of them. Portugal, then, will be happy the Azzurri were knocked out.
Even so, Fernando Santos and his players would do well to remember they are not immune to suffering a similar shock defeat. Confidence in the country was rather low ahead of their semi-final, which ended in a 3-1 victory over Turkey.
Santos no longer retains the faith of many soccer followers in Portugal. He may have been in charge for the Euro 2016 triumph, but since then he has not been convinced despite having an abundance of talent at his disposal, especially in attacking areas.
The predominant feeling for many after the defeat of Turkey was a relief. It was a deserved victory, and although it was not enough to win Santos’ many doubters over, his position will remain secure for now.
After all, Portugal is just one step away from qualifying for the World Cup and extending a record that has seen them participate in every edition since 2002.
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Lightening Unlikely To Strike Twice So Path Clear for Portugal
After defeating England, the United States lost 5-2 to Chile at the 1950 World Cup and finished bottom of their group. Senegal did not win another match within 90 minutes in Japan and South Korea following their historic upset against France. At Euro 2016, Iceland was dispatched by France in the quarter-finals after putting out England.
Lightening is just as unlikely to strike twice for North Macedonia on Tuesday. For starters, the victory over Italy will have taken a lot out of them – both physically and mentally. North Macedonia ceded possession and got through plenty of running.
Emotionally, it is hard to sustain such a high, and playing another game away from home will almost certainly prove a bridge too far.
Portugal played well against Turkey and were comfortable for most of the match, thanks in large part to the two goals they notched before the break. Santos will want to see another quick start from his team here. Portugal will be keen to get ahead early on so that North Macedonia are forced to adapt their tactics.
Italy spurned numerous presentable opportunities last time out. Portugal, with Cristiano Ronaldo supported by the likes of Diogo Jota, Otavio, Joao Felix and Bernardo Silva, are unlikely to make the same mistake.
Back the home team to win both halves and advance to the World Cup in Qatar.
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How to Watch Portugal vs North Macedonia
|Portugal vs North Macedonia Information|
|Teams||Portugal vs North Macedonia|
|Location||Estadio do Dragao, Porto, Portugal|
|Time||Tuesday 29 March 2022, 02.45 PM EDT|
|How to watch||ESPN+|