International Friendly: Portugal vs Algeria – Lineups, Preview and Prediction
Cristiano Ronaldo should be in the fold for Portugal against Algeria as they prepare for their final warm-up game for the World Cup.
20:15 BST, Thursday 7th June, Estadio da Luz (Lisbon, Portugal)
A 0-0 draw against Belgium was a decent result last time out for Portugal, especially considering they were without starman Ronaldo for the game.
The performance by Fernando Santos’s men was far more deserving of a victory as they restricted the Belgians to just one shot on target. At the other end, Thibaut Courtois was in fine form repelling everything Portugal threw at him.
With Spain being their opening game at the tournament on June 15th, Portugal are now in the final stretch of preparations and will be praying that everyone makes it through this game unscathed.
Algeria lost 3-2 against Cape Verde last time out with Leicester City stars Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani featuring for them.
They have lost their last three games and have just one win in their last nine international games.
Portugal should have a full complement of players, whether they line up 4-4-2 or 4-5-1 remains to be seen. But we predict that they will stick Ronaldo up front.
After the disappointment of losing to Cape Verde, we expect Algeria to make some changes to their side. Defensively they were a shambles, and if they want to progress into the African Cup of Nations then they will need to improve greatly.
Keymen – Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) vs Riyad Mahrez (Algeria)
The return of Ronaldo will be music to the ears of Portugal fans. He spent the previous week in Marbella with his family after winning the Champions League.
Portugal won the European Championships in 2016 with a defense-first approach and Ronaldo is key to that system as he possesses the spark that can get goals against the run of play.
Algeria may represent a great chance for him to get back into the groove before the tournament starts next week.
Leicester City star Riyad Mahrez is the equivalent player for Algeria as he is in the top bracket of players in world football.
He returned to his goal-scoring form last season as he netted 13 times, four short of his top tally when the Foxes won the Premier League in 2016.
At international level Mahrez has scored eight goals in 34 games, a tally that will no doubt rise over the coming years.
Will Ronaldo be back up to speed?
Cristiano Ronaldo never stops playing. Real Madrid compete on all fronts and he is a mainstay of the Portugal national side so he often plays 50-60 games a season.
A week off is a rarity for him and he will no doubt feel recharged, but will he be able to slot back into his elite levels of performance from this past season?
Obviously, this game against Algeria will allow him to slowly get back up to speed with the relaxed atmosphere of a friendly and the real test will come against Spain in game one.
Are Algeria really this bad?
Form has been dreadful recently for Algeria as they have stuttered through their years worth of fixtures.
With African Cup of Nations qualification hotting up now, Algeria needs to get their form back or they will watch yet another tournament from the comfort of their own home.
Getting a positive result against Portugal would represent progress and prove to their fans and even themselves that they are better than recent form suggests.
Prediction: Portugal 3-0 Algeria
The quality that Portugal possesses over Algeria should be more than enough to see them to victory. Joao Moutinho and William Carvalho should dominate the midfield while Jose Fonte and Pepe will be able to cope with the attacking qualities that Algeria have.
Portugal will want a win to build momentum and they should get it here.
Can Algeria cause a shock? Let us know below.