When the World Cup rolls around every 4 years, we assume that we are going to be treated to more than our fair share of drama over the course of the tournament. What we do not expect is that the drama will begin before a ball has even been kicked in anger. The football world woke up on Wednesday morning to hear that Julen Lopetegui, the coach of Spain, had been fired. It’s an absolutely stunning decision to make with just hours to go before Spain play their first game of the 2018 FIFA World Cup against Portugal. The details are all still a little sketchy at the moment, but it would appear that the Spanish FA were none too pleased at Lopetegui for taking the vacant Real Madrid job, which he would head to as soon as the World Cup ended. It appears that he will be with Madrid a little earlier than he expected. You now have to wonder how this is going to affect the squad as they prepare for their most important group game on Friday. Does this news suddenly give Portugal a bit of an edge in this game?
Somos la Selección, representamos un escudo, unos colores, una aficion, un país. La responsabilidad y el compromiso son con vosotros y por vosotros. Ayer, hoy y mañana, juntos: #VamosEspaña pic.twitter.com/rzy5D5lF8F
— Sergio Ramos (@SergioRamos) June 13, 2018
⚽: Portugal Vs Spain (Group Stage, Group B, Matchday 1 of 3)
🏟️: Fisht Olympic Stadium
⏰: Friday, June 15 at 2 PM EST
🎰: Spain -½ +105 | +105 | O 2, 2-½ +100
Why bet on Portugal
Portugal have always had a talented team, but they had made a habit of not being at their best when the major tournaments rolled around. That all changed two years ago when Portugal won the European Championships. What made that win all the more improbable was that they did it after losing Cristiano Ronaldo in the early minutes of the final. Ronaldo is fit and ready to go here, and there really is no question that Portugal are much better when he is in full flight. This is a tough opener for Portugal, much like they had 4 years ago in Brazil when they had to open the tournament with a game against the soon to be champions, Germany. Portugal were blasted 4-0 in that one and will want to avoid any type of loss in this game, as this is a team that has a tendency to fade when things don’t go their way.
Why bet on Spain
It is a little unfair that we are probably going to spend more time talking about the coaching decision that we are about this very good squad of players. Spain are coming into this tournament among the favorites, but you really need to wonder what sort of effect the firing is going to have on this squad. They are probably going to need to rely heavily on veteran players like Andres Iniesta to keep the ship on course as they head into what looks to be very turbulent waters. Spain will also be looking for a better start than they got in 2014, when they lost their opening game, going down 5-1 at the hands of Holland. I guess the only good thing about the timing of the firing is that the players will not have a lot of time to sit around and dwell on things. They probably already have a plan and system in place for this game.
Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction
Both of these teams are likely going to be moving on to the next round, so there is no need for either of them to come out and get a statement win. I think we are looking at a stalemate here.
Predicted Score: Portugal 1 Spain 1
FIFA World Cup Betting Lines at YouWager.eu are available for all the games on the schedule.
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