Portugal vs Luxembourg
Portugal will be looking to reclaim the top place in the 2022 World Cup qualification Group A when they take on Luxembourg at the Estádio Algarve.
Portugal have picked themselves up from an underwhelming Euro 2020 last-16 elimination, winning each of their subsequent four internationals, including two in this World Cup qualifying campaign. After staging a breathtaking late comeback against Ireland in their most recent Group A match on home soil, Fernando Santos’ side dismantled section minnows Azerbaijan 3-0 on the road to maintain an almost perfect record in this qualifying cycle (W4, D1). Though the ‘Selecao’ sit one point adrift of group leaders Serbia, they have a game in hand over the ‘Eagles’ as they look primed for reaching their sixth World Cup finals on the bounce. But there’s no room for complacency here, as Portugal had to overcome a 1-0 deficit to beat Luxembourg 2-1 in the reverse fixture back in March.
Meanwhile, the visitors have blown hot and cold in Group A so far, winning two of their five World Cup qualifying matches while losing the other three. A heartbreaking 1-0 home loss to Serbia last time out might have well put Luxembourg’s hopes of reaching their first-ever major tournament outside the realm of possibility, as they take the field trailing second-placed Portugal by a whopping seven points. What’s more, after keeping zero clean sheets across their last seven international outings, Luxembourg could be staring at another heavy defeat here. Indeed, since beating Portugal 4-2 over 60 years ago, ‘Les Lions Rouges’ have gone winless in their subsequent 16 H2Hs, succumbing to a horrendous 46-4 aggregate scoreline in that period! Interestingly, since being held to a 1-1 draw to Lithuania in a Euro qualifier in June 2019, none of Luxembourg’s last 12 internationals on foreign turf have ended level (W3, L9).