International Friendlies: Portugal will get back to winning ways
Dan Fitch takes a look at three international friendlies that all feature sides that will play at the World Cup and fancies Portugal to defeat Algeria...
"With Ronaldo now back in training after a short holiday following the Champions League final, it’s likely that we’ll see a more clinical Portugal should he play against Algeria."
South Korea experiments failing
South Korea [1.33] v Bolivia [7.0]; The Draw [3.8]
Thursday June 7, 13:10
South Korea come into this friendly off the back of a disappointing home defeat to Bosnia-Herzegovina on Friday.
The 3-1 defeat was South Korea's third loss in their last four games. Their manager Shin Tae-Yong played with a back three rather than the 4-4-2 formation that saw the Koreans through the qualification process and didn't look better for the change.
A victory over Latvia in February stretched South Korea's unbeaten record to eight matches, all of which saw them playing 4-4-2. In the four matches since then, the only time they have won is on the sole occasion they lined up with a 4-4-2 against Honduras. On the other three occasions when Shin Tae-Yong experimented, the team lost.
With Germany waiting in the Korean's World Cup group, perhaps they are looking to improve their defensive performance. So far it's had the opposite effect. Bolivia may be playing too poorly themselves to be able to take advantage (P5 W0 D2 L3), but could trouble South Korea's leaky backline. Go for Both Teams To Score at [2.3].
Ronaldo return will boost Portugal
Portugal [1.39] v Algeria [9.6]; The Draw [4.5]
Thursday June 7, 20:15
Portugal are another World Cup qualifier who are looking for a confidence boosting victory after a bad run of results.
The Portuguese are without a win in three games, which started with a shock 3-0 defeat at home to Holland, that brought an end to a 14-match unbeaten run. They since have drawn 2-2 with Tunisia and 0-0 with Belgium, both of whom will be in Russia this summer.
To be fair, these last three games have seen Portugal play without Cristiano Ronaldo. With Ronaldo now back in training after a short holiday following the Champions League final, it's likely that we'll see a more clinical Portugal should he play against Algeria.
The Algerians have lost each of their last three games, despite not facing the strongest opposition in the shape of Iran, Saudi Arabia and Cape Verde. With Portugal being very reliable from a defensive perspective, back them to Win To Nil at [2.0].
Iceland's poor form will continue
Iceland [2.1] v Ghana [3.4]; The Draw [3.1]
Thursday June 7, 21:00
The trend of teams that have qualified for the World Cup, struggling in subsequent friendlies, continues with Iceland. After they shocked everyone with their progress at Euro 2016, Iceland went on to qualify for the World Cup ahead of Croatia, but they've now lost three games on the bounce.
In March they lost 3-0 to Mexico, followed a few days later by a 3-1 defeat to Peru. Then on Saturday came a 3-2 home loss to Norway, who are now managed by the man behind Iceland's recent success, Lars Lagerback. The Swede retired after Euro 2016, only to soon be tempted back into work by the Norway job.
Lagerback's former co-manager Heimir Hallgrimsson took sole control of Iceland after the European Championships and unsurprisingly has continued to play in the same manner. The sudden loss of form and the amount of goals that Iceland are conceding has come as something of a shock then, when you consider that they only let in seven in ten qualification games.
Ghana are unbeaten in five games, most recently defeating World Cup qualifiers Japan 2-0. The form points to the Africans avoiding defeat and you can back them in the Double Chance market at [1.7].
Back both South Korea and Bolivia to score at [2.3]
Back Portugal to win to nil at [2.0]
Back Ghana double chance at [1.7]