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Spain Favored vs. Portugal on World Cup Group B Odds

2018 World Cup; Spain favored over Portugal to Win Group B

Just days before they take the field for their opening match at the 2018 World Cup, Spain’s national soccer team was rocked by the news of the firing of head coach Julen Lopetgui. However, despite the unexpected turmoil surrounding the club, Spain will enter Friday’s group stage clash with Portugal as +105 betting favorites on the World Cup Group B odds.

Lopetgui took over the reins of the Spanish national side following their disappointing ouster in the Round of 16 at Euro 2016, and led the squad to an impressive 14-6-0 win-draw-loss record in 20 outings across all competitions, including a sparkling 9-1-0 record in UEFA World Cup qualifying.

But after news broke that the former goalkeeper had plans to take over head coaching duties at Real Madrid following the World Cup, he was quickly replaced by Fernando Hierro, who will lead the club into Friday’s Portugal vs. Spain matchup at Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi.

In addition to remaining strong favorites in this crucial Group B matchup, Spain continues to sit among the favorites on the World Cup championship odds, trailing only Brazil and Germany at +650.

La Furia have blanked opponents on 11 occasions during their current unbeaten streak, capped by a 1-0 victory over Tunisia as -500 chalk in their final pre-tournament friendly on June 9. That marked just their second win in their past five outings, a run that includes draws with host nation Russia, Germany, and sixth-ranked Switzerland.

Perched as strong -175 favorites to finish atop the Group B table, the Spaniards will be eager to return to their winning ways in Friday’s clash, and bury the memory of their dismal performance at the 2014 World Cup where they failed to advance out of the group stage as defending World Cup champions.

 

Portugal Set as the Underdog for Matchup with Rival

However, Spain is likely to face a stiff challenge from Portugal, who enter the tournament as reigning European champions, and +305 underdogs on the Portugal-Spain World Cup odds.

Portugal also dominated during UEFA World Cup qualifying, powering to the top of Group B with a 9-0-1 record, capped by a 2-0 victory over undefeated Switzerland as -170 favorites in their final scheduled contest.

But like Spain, the Seleção produced middling results in subsequent friendlies, going 3-3-1 including a 3-0 loss to the Netherlands, and are 1-1-4 in six all-time competitive clashes with the Spaniards, including a 1-0 loss in their last World Cup meeting eight years ago.

Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo will once again serve as Portugal’s captain, and makes his fourth career World Cup appearance as a strong +1600 bet to emerge as the tournament’s top goalscorer. However, after drawing into a challenging Group B that also features dark horses Morocco and Iran, Portugal sits well back of the World Cup championship favorites at +2200.

Those odds, though, could dramatically change with a victory over Spain on Friday, which would give Portugal a clear path to the top of the Group B table, and likely a favorable matchup in the Round of 16 against the second-place finisher in a weak Group A that features Russia, Uruguay, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.

 

*Odds as of June 14, 2018

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