Archive for June, 2015

England U21 v Portugal U21 – Preview: Hopes v Expectations

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

and begin their European Under-21 Championship campaign on Thursday evening as they face off in a Group B encounter at the Stadion Miroslava Valenty in Uherske Hradiste.

Both sides qualified for the tournament in fine fashion going unbeaten in qualifying before letting their guard slip a little in post-qualifying friendlies.

The Esperancas topped Group 8 and scored 22 goals as they won all eight of their qualifiers, conceding just six times – and half of those in a pulsating 4-3 win in Israel.

In the six team Group 1, the Young Lions drew an early away game 1-1 in Finland, before pushing on to win nine of their ten qualifiers. The Three Lions scored at a rate of more than three goals a game and conceded just one more goal in their group.

However, since securing their place in the Czech Republic, both sides have lost one of their friendlies; indeed earlier this year, England triumphed against their Iberian opponents at Turf Moor, with Danny Ings scoring twice. A few days after that match, Gareth Southgate’s side were defeated, losing a close encounter in France.

In eight previous U21 Euros meetings between the two sides, Portugal have a slight edge, having won four to England’s three – those three have been the most recent meetings, though Portugal did emerge triumphant in the Toulon Tournament last summer.

England will go into the game expecting for fireworks from their potent strike force, which contains West Bromwich Albion’s , scorer of 10 goals in qualifying. However, he faces a battle to be selected in a likely 4-2-3-1 formation with of Tottenham.

Kane’s rise has been meteoric, and he netted six times in his eight qualifying appearances. Berahino’s current tally of 10 goals leaves just him three behind the national record held jointly by Alan Shearer and Francis Jeffers (13) going into the tournament.

Meanwhile, Portugal’s qualifying goals were spread around the team, with Porto’s Ricardo Pereira top scoring for Rui Jorge’s side with five. Ivan Cavaleiro of Benfica offers a different threat; a magician when the mood takes him, and Ben Gibson will have to pay the wideman close attention.

Form Guide: England (W-W-W-W-W-W), Portugal (W-W-W-W-W-W)

Expected Starting XIs

England: Butland; Jenkinson, Moore, Gibson, Garbutt; Ward-Prowse, Carroll; Redmond, Hughes, Pritchard; Kane

Portugal: Jose Sa; Esgaio, Oliveira, Guerriro, Ilori; Neves, Carvalho, Bernardo Silva; Cavaleiro, Ricardo Pereira, Mane

NaijaBet Odds

As at this post England has 2.64 odd to win the match on NaijaBet while Portugal  has 2.80 odd to win the match also, while the odd to draw the match is 3.23.

Copa American Preview: Argentina – Uruguay

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

ageArgentina has been urged to replicate its first-half showing against Paraguay when it faces Uruguay on Tuesday.

Sergio Romero says Argentina can take positives from its Copa America opener, despite dropping points from a winning position, as the side prepares for this week’s Group B clash against Uruguay.

Gerardo Martino’s side threw away a two-goal lead in La Serena, as Nelson Valdez and Lucas Barrios scored in the final half hour to salvage a point and frustrate the World Cup finalist.

Argentina had led thanks to goals from Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero, with both Martino and captain Messi left frustrated by their second-half collapse.

Uruguay was also unconvincing in its opener – a 1-0 win over Jamaica – but Romero says both sides will take positives from their first Copa outings.

“Uruguay will not give away anything and although they had a tough match against Jamaica, they played their game and their style,” he said. “They also have dangerous strikers such as Cebolla [Cristian Rodriguez] and Edinson Cavani.

“On Tuesday, hopefully we can play our game and if we play like we did in the first half [against Paraguay] I think it will be alright. The first half against Paraguay was not good, it was excellent. Argentina had the ball, kept it on the floor and generally played the game the coach wants.”

Defending champion Uruguay looks on course to move into the knockout stages after Rodriguez’s winner ensured the side of top spot in the group at the end of the first round of matches.

Jamaica had more than enough chances to take something from the game but failed to break down a stubborn defense well marshaled by the likes of Diego Godin and Jose Maria Gimenez.

Uruguay won the most recent instalment of this famous rivalry – a 3-2 success in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup – with Tabarez backing his side to grow into the tournament.

“We will continue to work in these few days,” Tabarez said on Sunday. “We were not at our best but that’s not the case just for us, not many teams arrive in their best form and it is widely expected that teams improve.”

The sides meet after Paraguay takes on Jamaica, with the picture of the group set to look a lot clearer after close of play on Tuesday.

NaijaBet Odds

As at this post Argentina has 1.69 odd to win the match on NaijaBet while Uruguay has 5.53 odd to win the match also, while the odd to draw the match is 3.69.