Portugal vs Czech Republic Preview | Euro 2024 Picks & Predictions

Portugal vs Czech Republic Preview | Euro 2024 Picks & Predictions article feature image
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Visionhaus/Getty. Pictured: Joao Felix.

Portugal vs Czech Republic Preview

Tuesday, June 18
3 p.m. ET
FOX
Portugal Odds-222
Czech Republic Odds+555
Draw+345
Over / Under
2.5
 -138 / +110
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute Soccer odds here.

Cristiano Ronaldo will begin what could be his final international tournament on Tuesday as Portugal open their Group F campaign against the Czech Republic.

After Ronaldo's previous falling out at the 2022 World Cup with Fernando Santos, new manager Roberto Martinez has brought new life to the twilight of his international career.

The Czech Republic are also entering a new era under Ivan Hasek. The Czechs have won all four of their friendlies under Hasek, but this is his debut in a competitive fixture.

Portugal last won this tournament in 2016. The Czechs were runners-up in 1996 and won the tournament as Czechoslovakia in 1976.

Let's dive into Portugal vs Czech Republic at Euro 2024.


Portugal

After seeing his Belgium tenure end with a first-round exit at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Martinez has landed in another international role with plenty of talent at his disposal.

Most of the squad is smack in the center of their primes. And while Ronaldo has slowed, he is still an extremely unusual 39-year old and the team's leading scorer in qualifying with 10 goals.

But Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes is the team's central creative force with six goals and eight assists in qualifying and was the only player to start every match. Manchester City's Ruben Dias leads a back line that conceded only once, in a 3-2 home win over Slovakia.

While this team breezed through qualifying with a perfect record, it's worth noting that their group was among the weaker ones in the tournament. Slovakia were the second-place finisher, and teams like Luxembourg and Lichtenstein offered little resistance.


Czech Republic

What the Czechs lack in a fully forged identity under their new manager, they may compensate for in unpredictability.

Hasek played four different formations in his four friendlies, twice with three center backs, once with four and once with five. The 3-3-2-2 and the 5-3-2 employed in the last two earlier this month suggest a counter-pressing and counterattacking style will be involved.

His track record suggests he may not be long for the job, having never managed more than three seasons in any single job over a winding career across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Far East. But that experience of adapting quickly could also be an asset given the circumstances of his late hire.

West Ham box-to-box midfielder Thomas Soucek and Bayer Leverkusen striker Thomas Schick are the standouts of quad. There should be some built-in familiarity within the rest of the group, with 15 players in the group based domestically at one of three clubs: Sparta Prague, Slavia Prague or Viktoria Plzen.


Portugal vs Czech Republic

Prediction

The last couple days of the Euro have gotten fairly dire in terms of goals, but the tactical setup of this game provides an opportunity for that to change.

Martinez has always won plaudits for his positive approach to the game — even if he's worn out his welcome in a couple of jobs when the desired results haven't followed — and the past two Czech friendlies suggest a counter-pressing approach that sometimes yields better attacking results against better opposition that feels more confident sending numbers forward.

So I'm playing a yes wager on both teams scoring and the total going above 2.5 goals at +125 odds and an implied 44.4% probability.

There's not a track record from qualifying to support it per se, but the circumstances are there to create one of the more entertaining games of the tournament.

Pick: Both teams to score – Yes and over 2.5, same-game parlay (+125 via BetMGM)

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