Portugal Favored to Advance to Confederations Cup Final

Who: Portugal v. Chile

When: Wednesday June 27th, 2017 2PM EST

Where: Kazan Arena—Kazan, Russia

Heading into their final group match, both Chile and their supporters were fully aware of the fact that a mere point would see them through to the next round. After 45 minutes, however, what seemed like a surefire place in the 2017 Confederations Cup semifinals was looking more and more like a fight to survive. The reason for this was a finely crafter goal shortly after 40 minutes scored by Australia, a team that had so far underperformed in this year’s competition. Luckily, a 2nd half goal by Chilean substitute Martin Rodriguez sealed a 1-1 draw as well as Chile’s place into the semifinals.

Portugal, on the other hand, cruised to a 4-0 victory over perhaps the weakest team in the tournament, New Zealand. Ronaldo has been the standout star for the reigning European champions thus far, but the Portuguese have put in some solid, all-around team performances to get them where they are now. Apart from a 2-2 slip-up to Mexico in their first match, Portugal has gone on to close out group play scoring 5 goals in 2 matches while conceding none.

Matchups and Analysis

When I see the matchup of Portugal (+130) and Chile (+205), I think there are more similarities to name than there are differences. Both teams love to play with speed and flare, both can attack from all areas of the pitch, both have solid goalkeepers, and both sides have two absolute stars (Chile’s Alexis Sanchez and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo).

What does stand out to me has much less to do with who will be on the pitch, and much more to do with who will not be. Thanks to a nagging injury, Portuguese defender Raphael Guerreiro will not partake in the semifinal. Making matters even worse, Portugal will also be without veteran defender Pepe due to a suspension. This could have major ramifications thanks to a Chilean attack that is potent both in possession and on the counterattack.

Chile will be boasting a full, healthy 23-man roster and will have plenty of weapons from which to choose. Despite all the analyzing of this match that we will do, I think it really has to come down to star power. After all, with two of Europe’s best attacking players facing off on the pitch, it is difficult to envision a match where Sanchez and Ronaldo don’t both feature heavily. Ronaldo has been on absolute fire this tournament and playing the best football of his life, but in the same breath there is little in the way of negative things to say about the play of Sanchez as well.

Betting Predictions

As for how this match is going to actually play out on the field, I think we will see goals. Bovada currently lists the 90-minute over/under at 2.5 goals (+110/-145). Conventional wisdom will tell you that, because it is a Cup semifinal, both teams are more than likely going to spend the first 20 or so minutes getting a feel for one another. With that being said, these teams are both attack-minded nearly all of the time. I do not foresee that happening on Wednesday, and because of that think there will be goals to be had. Add in the fact that Portugal are missing 2 key defenders, and the case for goals to be scored only gets stronger. As such, I think over 2.5 goals (+110) is both a very valuable wager and a wise one to make.

If you want to stay on the safer sides and have an opportunity for a push, you can take an alternative over of 2 goals, with -170 odds.

Despite all of Chile’s offensive prowess, I truly think that Portugal (+130) are going to pull this one off in 90 minutes + stoppage. The Portuguese not only breezed through the group stages of this tournament, they have a nice combination of experience and youth that seems to mesh together flawlessly.

Cristiano Ronaldo is currently listed on Bovada at EVEN money to score a goal in this match. Having scored in 2 of Portugal’s 3 matches in the 2017 Confederation Cup, and 2 in the last 2 consecutive matches, I think this is not necessarily an easy bet to make, but yet again a wise one. Alexis Sanchez also offers a lot of potential value as a +175 anytime scorer, but I think if you have to pick just one, Ronaldo is the more likely scorer of the two.

When it comes to semifinal matches in major tournaments, you have to look at the experience of the teams. I think Portugal has higher-level players who have played at this type of stage before, while Chile has maybe 2 or 3. I do not think this is going to be a walk in the park for the European representatives, but I do think that they will emerge victorious without the use of extra time.