Portugal vs Turkey World Cup Prediction, Odds, Picks

  • Portugal and Turkey will battle it out for a place in the final of the play-offs
  • Cristiano Ronaldo will hope to appear in what will surely be his last World Cup
  • Turkey were disappointing at Euro 2020 and will struggle to avoid defeat here

Portugal vs Turkey Odds

Portugal vs Turkey Thursday 24 March 2022, 03.45 PM EST
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Total Goals
2.5 +100 2.5 -130
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Portugal vs Turkey

Portugal vs Turkey Pick

Back Portugal to win (+100)

With the individual quality at their disposal, Fernando Santos’ side should be able to win this game by at least a two-goal margin.

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Portugal vs Turkey Predictions

Portugal Must Do Things the Hard Way To Reach Qatar

Portugal does not like to do things the easy way.

Just like in 2014 and 2018, the Selecao will have to go through the play-offs to qualify for the 2022 World Cup. They only managed a second-place finish in their qualification group, with Serbia upsetting the odds to take the top spot and book the automatic place in Qatar. Portugal lost at home to Dragan Stojkovic’s side in their final match in November, sending them through to the play-offs instead.

Many fans of the national team would prefer another manager to be in charge by now. Fernando Santos guided Portugal to glory at Euro 2016, before winning the inaugural edition of the UEFA Nations League three years later.

But there has been a disappointment as well as success. Portugal were eliminated from the 2018 World Cup in the round of 16. They only narrowly progressed from their group at Euro 2020, before being dumped out in the first knockout round by Belgium.

Santos’ tactics have come in for criticism. Portugal have a wealth of talented attackers at their disposal, but their manager is still struggling to find the right formula. This is a team that is considerably less than the sum of its parts. Santos has a tendency towards caution which does not suit the players at his disposal. And as Manchester United has discovered in the Premier League this season, building a functioning side around Cristiano Ronaldo is not as easy as it sounds.

Portugal should not fall into the trap of thinking they are too good not to qualify. Having said that, if Ronaldo and co. play to their potential they will have too much quality for Turkey.

Portugal will have to do things the hard way again, but their fate remains in their hands.

Underachievers Turkey Have a Tough Path Ahead of Them

Turkey is a soccer-mad country. It is the second-most populous UEFA nation behind Russia.

Yet the national team has been underwhelmed for some time now. The days of Turkey finishing third at the 2002 World Cup and reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2008 feel like a long time ago.

The Crescent-Stars have not qualified for another World Cup since Japan and South Korea 20 years ago. They have participated in two European Championships since 2008, but were knocked out in the group phase on both occasions. They were particularly poor at Euro 2020 last summer, losing all three matches and barely troubling their opponents in any of them.

They did fare better in the first stage of World Cup qualification. Turkey lost only one of their 10 matches in Group G and finished just two points behind the Netherlands. They were pushed hard by a Norway team containing the likes of Erling Haaland and Martin Odegaard, but results such as a 4-2 victory over the Netherlands and a 3-0 win against the Norwegians saw Turkey home in second.

Stefan Kuntz has been in charge of the national team since September. If he is able to guide his side to Qatar, he will become an instant hero in Turkey.

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Portugal Should Come Through This Semi-final Unscathed

The absence of Ruben Dias for Thursday’s game is a blow for Portugal, who will hope to have the experienced Pepe available after a recent head injury.

There has been talking of Santos switching to a three-man backline for the play-offs, but it would be risky to change the system when the stakes are so high. More likely is that Santos will stick with the usual back four, with Jose Fonte and Danilo Pereira contenders to start at center-half.

Portugal have not fired on all cylinders for a while now, but there is reason to believe they can get the job done pretty comfortably in the semi-final.

For starters, home advantage could be crucial. Turkey have a habit of failing to deliver in the biggest games, and Portugal will hope this match plays out similarly to Italy’s 3-0 win over the same opponents in the opening match of Euro 2020, which was held in front of a partisan crowd in Rome.

And while Portugal are nowhere near as cohesive a team as they should be, their superior attacking talent should get them through this match. That might not be enough for Santos’ side to beat Italy (presuming the Azzurri get past North Macedonia in the other semi-final), but backing Portugal to win by two goals or more is the way to go here.

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How to Watch Portugal vs Turkey

Portugal vs Turkey Information
Teams Portugal vs Turkey
Location Estadio do Dragao, Porto, Portugal
Time Thursday 24 March 2022, 03.45 PM EST
How to watch ESPN

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Greg Lea

Expert on Soccer

Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]