England vs Portugal Preview

Written by David Robinson

England take on Portugal without Cristiano Ronaldo in what is the last friendly before the big kick off in France in just over a weeks time. Preparations will want to be perfect and with England already winning both of their 2 friendlies against Turkey and Australia respectively, the Three Lions will want to make it a hat-trick of wins going into the tournament. Portugal themselves will want to be building momentum and they take a 3-0 victory over Norway last Sunday into the game. While International Friendlies really have little meaning in terms of the result and little effect on the upcoming games that really matter. I look at what England should look to take from the game and if a result will tell us anything about our Euro 2016 chances.

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                                                                              credit Mick Baker

Injuries

I think I share my opinion that International Friendlies are relatively pointless with a lot of fans however in the build up to a tournament, managers can take the finer details into games which can certainly help when the main event comes around. One thing that we can certainly take from the game is no injuries. We do have options in different areas however Hodgson’s men are not blessed with real quality. Injuries to key players such as Hart and Kane would be hugely detrimental to our tournament hopes and event the likes of Eric Dier who is the only specialised defensive midfielder cannot afford to be replaced. No matter what the result or performance, an injury free England would be a positive.

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Marcus Rashford

The teenager can’t stop scoring and even when he’s not doing that he is impressing with more than just a few qualities to his game. There were doubts as to whether he would make the 23 man squad but I would like to see the Manchester United striker start against Portugal and against Russia in the opening game. His fearless nature and form means that he would be an unknown quantity. His inexperience is really irrelevant with both Kane and Vardy not experienced in major tournaments either. I also believe he has more all round qualities than Vardy so he would be good partner for Harry Kane. He will once again have nothing to lose so throw him back into the deep end.

Start our best team

Friendlies are generally meant to be designed to experiment but I dislike this idea. Friendlies for me should be about building unity within the team and for developing crucial relationships all over the field. Hodgson should play his best team vs Portugal and see what they can produce. Of course subs can be made in the second half to rest players but its now time to integrate some stability.

Result

Without Cristiano Ronaldo, of course the edge will be taken away from Portugal. Despite having some good players he is their main man and that means that the result is probably even less significant than it already was. A win and good performance would be very nice but it really is irrelevant as to how things will pan out in over a week’s time in France. My score prediction for the game is 3-1 to England.

England fans, what are your predictions for the game vs Portugal? Let us know in the comments below!

featured image by Mick Baker