Predicted Portugal line-up to take on North Macedonia in World Cup Play-offs 

Portugal vs North Macedonia match has high stakes for both the contenders. Portugal’s world cup hopes are hanging by a thread at this point. After a convincing victory in the play-offs semi-final against Turkey, the Portuguese contingent is expected to give their all in order to win the final. However, the Macedonians aren’t looking to hand over the victory easily and lose their chance to feature in the world cup for the first time.              

Portugal will likely come out with all their powers, but North Macedonia has shown against Italy that they can turn the tables any time. After beating the European champions, Macedonians have secured four wins in their last six world cup qualifying games. They only need one more in their tally to make history.         

Team News

João Cancelo has recovered from the injury that he suffered against Turkey. The Manchester City star is expected to return to the starting XI alongside Pepe, who is also fit and ready to guard Portugal’s defence. The good news is that Fernando Santos’ team didn’t pick any new injury issues in the last match, so the manager would have a solid line-up to field in a crucial game.      

Probable Portugal XI

Formation: 4-1-3-2 

Diogo Costa (GK)

After giving an impressive performance while guarding the sticks against Turkey, Costa has earned the manager’s trust and should be seen today against Macedonia. 

João Cancelo (RB)

João Cancelo had developed himself as one of the best right-backs under the supervision of Pep Guardiola; hence his return to fitness will be a big boost for the team.   

Pepe (CB)

The old guard Pepe will be trusted once again to come up big on a monumental occasion. He has been around for a long time, and today he’ll get an excellent opportunity to showcase his expertise.          

José Fonte (CB)

The LOSC Lille captain has been exceptional for his club side this term. He will partner up with Pepe to create a solid defensive wall that will be very difficult to break for any attack.            

Raphaël Guerreiro (LB)

The Borussia Dortmund left-back had a productive spell in the Bundesliga so far. Apart from a tremendous attacking approach, the left-back is also solid in defence.       

João Moutinho (DM)

Moutinho is the player that Portugal will rely on to stop Macedonia’s run from the middle. At 35 years of age, the Wolves star is still a reliable player who knows how to step up his game on big occasions. 

Bernardo Silva (AM)

Silva has proven to be one of the best players of this season in the Premier League. His dribbling skills will be required against Macedonia, who likes to sit back and rely on counterattacks.      

Bruno Fernandes (AM)

Fernandes had the chance to play alongside Cristiano Ronaldo since the start of the season. Their connection on the pitch would be crucial for Portugal’s attacks.       

Otávio (RM)

Otávio has produced a lot for his Porto teammates this season. His incredible vision and exceptional passing abilities will be a strong advantage for Portugal’s forwards.    

Diogo Jota (ST)

After picking up one goal and one assist in the last match, it’s clear that Liverpool star Jota will be trusted to take the attack on Macedonia’s half. His top-notch finishing skills could come in handy while facing the goal.             

Cristiano Ronaldo (ST)

Despite crossing the 37-year mark, Ronaldo has managed to give a goal-laden season in his return to England. Considered one of the greatest of the game, he is expected to lead his country to the world cup in Qatar.      

Portugal vs North Macedonia prediction

North Macedonia will likely play the patience game and wait for Portugal to make a mistake. Their confidence skyrocketed after the last match against Italy; hence they will ensure that Portugal attacking line-up doesn’t get easy chances. But the quality of players in Fernando Santos’ team’s midfield will likely overpower the opponent’s midfielders. They can slice a crucial pass at any moment, and players like Ronaldo and Jota can use their experience to turn them into goals. So, we are going for a 2-1 victory for Portugal.      

If you fancy backing out tip, have boosted the odds on Jota to score anytime and Portugal to win from 11/8 to 7/4.

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