The 2017 Confederations Cup has reached the knockout stages, with four teams remaining in the semi-finals. There are no second chances and a winner must be decided on the night, as Portugal play Chile in the first semi-final at the Kazan Arena.
This match will be an intriguing clash between the 2016 European champions and the winners of the 2015 and 2016 Copa America.
Portugal qualified for the semi-final of the 2017 Confederations Cup by finishing top of Group A, while Chile claimed second place in Group B.
The Portuguese were favourites to win Group A and they did not disappoint. Their opening match against Mexico was always going to be their toughest and so it proved. Having taken the lead twice in the game, Mexico came back strongly and scored two equalising goals, the second of which came deep in injury time.
Playing the hosts of a tournament is never an easy fixture but an early goal by Cristiano Ronaldo was enough to seal maximum points for Portugal against Russia. This left Fernando Santos’ team in a strong position heading into their final game against New Zealand.
Despite being kept at bay for over 30 minutes, Portugal made the breakthrough and there was only going to be one winner from there. The Portuguese eased home with a 4 victory to top the group.
Having been drawn in the same Confederations Cup group as Germany, it was always going to be a tough ask for Chile to finish top of Group B.
La Roja started the group well, defeating Cameroon 2-0 and this set them up nicely for the meeting with the Germans. Having taken the lead through Alexis Sanchez, Chile were pegged back by Germany and the match ended in a 1-1 draw, a decent result for both teams.
However, Chile will be disappointed to have finished the group stages with a 1-1 draw against Australia. This was a match Chile were expected to win but they were forced to come back from a goal down to claim a point.
Portugal will be without Raphael Guerreiro, who has a suspected broken ankle. Cristiano Ronaldo is set to start up-front but it is in midfield where Fernando Santos has decisions to make. With the likes of Ricardo Quaresma and Bernardo Silva, there is plenty of creative talent from which to choose.
Chile have no injury concerns and Claudio Bravo should be fit enough to retain his place in goal. Alexis Sanchez will start in attack alongside Eduardo Vargas and Gary Medel will anchor the midfield, allowing Arturo Vidal to get forward whenever possible.
Top Betting Tips
This has the makings of being a very tight game. Portugal proved themselves to be a team who are tough to beat on their road to success at Euro 2016 and come into the match in better form than Chile. You can get 3/1 with Ladbrokes for Portugal to win the match by 1 goal.
Do not expect to see a huge number of goals in this game, as both teams are likely to play with cautious tactics as opposed to attacking freely. Chile’s best chance of winning may be by taking the game into extra time and the draw with under 2.5 goals is 27/10 with Ladbrokes.
The key players for Portugal and Chile are Cristiano Ronaldo and Alexis Sanchez respectively. If either team is going to find the back of the net in this match, it is likely to come through these players.
Cristiano Ronald is 10/3 to score the first goal, with Sanchez available at 5/1, both with Ladbrokes.