Ronaldo and Pepe both missing as Portugal take on Greece
In what will be a repeat of the Euro 2004 final, Portugal take on Greece in a warm-up friendly for the World Cup.
Portugal are odds-on for the game, at 8/15, despite captain Cristiano Ronaldo being left out, after he helped Real Madrid win the Champions League, albeit with a thigh problem. National boss Paulo Bento is also without defender Pepe, who is nursing a calf problem. Both however are precautionary, and are believed to be easily fit for the start of the World Cup.
The match is likely to be relatively academic for the Navigators, perhaps reflected by their opponents odds of 5/1 to record a victory. A repeat of the 1-0 scoreline from 2004 looks even more improbable, though Coral are offering 14/1.
Portugal, however, have won four of their last five games. A landslide 5-1 victory over Cameroon, marked a pivotal moment in Ronaldo’s glittering career. His two strikes meant that he became the country’s leading scorer with 49 in 110 appearances.
If indeed rested, it will give the likes of Nani a chance to show what he can do, and emerge from his captain’s shadow. The 27-year-old has scored 14 goals in 72 showings at international level, though against a far inferior Greek team, he has a chance to remedy that.
Greece have Borussia Dortmund defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos within their ranks, and the centre back has shown signs that he will turn into a very accomplished defender.
Joao Moutinho has never really lived up to albeit, tame comparisons made between him and Rui Costa, who is one of the most-loved Portugal stars of his generation. His 26 goals in 94 appearances, is a stark contrast to Moutinho’s two strikes in 66. Odds of 7/1 to net at anytime, perhaps fairly indicate his scoring shortage.
For Greece, it is a chance for Kostas Mitroglou to show what he can do. After arriving at Fulham for a fee believed to be in the region of £12m, he has failed to live up to all of the hype. However, there is still a scoring market for him, and is 50/1 to hit a hat-trick.