Ronaldo in the form of his life
Portugal head to Russia on the back of that impressive Euro 2016 win. That was their best effort to date in the competition and they’ll rate their chances of joining the exclusive club of nations who have won the World Cup after being crowned champions of Europe.
Any side with Cristiano Ronaldo in the ranks must be respected and CR7 is looking in the form of his life. It’ll require another best performance from The Navigators if they are to create their own little piece of history, but bookmakers don’t seem to fancy it.
Fernando Santos and his boys are eighth in the betting behind the likes of England and Belgium and that may just catch the eye of value hunters. William Hill’s 25/1 is the best price available if you fancy a go.
Here’s three players who will need to show up to give the country any hope…..
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CR7 16/1 to top score
Where else would we start than with arguably the best player in the world at the minute? Ronaldo is a man of unbelievable talent but what impresses us most about him is that he continually delivers on the big stage when it matters most. He’s a fiercely ambitious player who loves winning and it would be a shame if the 32-year-old finished without making an impact in this competition.
2018 will probably be his last shot and he may never have a better opportunity. As big as 16/1 to finish as top goal scorer at Russia 2018. Some firms have him as tight as 10/1. Neutrals will be cheering the Real Madrid man on to glory.
Ronaldo can’t do it all himself, but we see young-gun Andre Silva as the perfect man to help carry the load. The 22-year-old Milan striker has hit form at exactly the right time and his club performances this season make him one of Serie A’s most promising players. He’s at the opposite end of the experience scale to Ronaldo but has plenty of wise heads around him on the park to make things a little easier.
Silva caught the eye during qualification and as an out-and-out striker he offers something a bit different. He’d certainly benefit from a goal early in the tournament to settle nerves, but Portugal are expected to get forward often enough and he’s a man with a real finishers instinct who can be found in and around the danger zone when needed. 100/1 at Paddy Power to top-score, if you expect Portugal to do well that may be worth an each-way bet.
The Barcelona midfielder hasn’t had the clearest run at the summer and it remains to be seen if the 24-year-old will be fully fit but if he’s only halfway there he’ll travel and Portugal will be a better team with him on the plane.
A player who will be set for plenty of speculation linking him with a move away from La Liga during the transfer window, many expect a big money switch to Tottenham when the dust has settled in Russia. The player will want to leave that to the side and concentrate on doing his bit for Portugal. The fact things have not gone smoothly at the Camp Nou this year means Gomes will be determined to show off his skills and put himself firmly in the shop window. Man Utd and Juventus are rumoured to be keeping tabs on the situation.