The race for the 2022 World Cup has begun and Portugal will 'host' Azerbaijan in their matchday one clash on Wednesday.
The UEFA Group A qualifiers will take place at the Juventus Stadium due to COVID-19 protocols. The two sides will be looking to begin their qualification series on a positive note.
The sides have been grouped with Serbia, the Republic of Ireland and Luxembourg. Meanwhile, Qatar will take up a 'friendly' spot in the five-team group.
The two sides have clashed on six occasions in the past and, as expected, Portugal have a better record.
The Iberian side have five wins to their name, with the other fixture ending in a stalemate.
Their most recent meeting came in March 2019, in Group F of the 2014 World Cup qualifers. Goals from Bruno Alves and Hugo Almeida helped Portugal to a 2-0 victory away from home.
This will be the first fixture for both sides since the last international break in November 2020. Portugal were 3-2 victors away to Croatia in their final game of the UEFA Nations League group stage. That result came after a 1-0 defeat at home to France.
Azerbaijan played three consecutive goalless draws in their final three UEFA Nations League fixtures.
Portugal form guide: W-L-W-W-D
Azerbaijan form guide: D-D-D-D-L
Portugal manager Fernando Santos has called up 26 players for the upcoming fixtures with Azerbaijan, Serbia and Luxembourg.
However, regular goalkeeper Rui Patricio - who suffered a concussion against Liverpool - has been left out of the squad.
Other stalwarts like Andre Gomes, Pepe, Nelson Semedo and William Carvalho have also been excluded.
Joao Palhinha has been called up following his spectacular form with Sporting Lisbon and could make his international bow.
Injury: Rui Patricio
Manager Gianni De Biasi has called up 24 players for Azerbaijan's upcoming international fixtures.
Highly-experienced captain Maxim Medvedev leads the contingent. Defenders Tamkin Khalilzade and Rahil Mammadov are unavailable due to having contracted COVID-19.
Midfielder Eddi Israfilov was in the preliminary squad but did not make the final cut.
COVID-19: Tamkin Khalilzade, Rahil Mammadov
Portugal Predicted XI (4-3-3): Anthony Lopes (GK); Joao Cancelo, Jose Fonte, Ruben Dias, Cedric Soares; Joao Moutinho, Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva; Cristiano Ronaldo, Andre Silva, Joao Felix
Azerbaijan Predicted XI (5-4-1): Emil Balayev (GK); Azer Salahli, Maksim Medvedev, Badavi Huseynov, Abbas Huseynov, Anton Krisvotsyuk; Gara Garayev, Joshgun Diniyev, Khayal Najafov, Vugar Mustafayev; Ramil Sheydayey
Portugal will likely have too much firepower for Azerbaijan to handle. The visitors are likely to deploy a low-block with a congested defense to try and catch the European champions on the break.
However, the difference in class between the sides is very evident and we are predicting a comfortable victory for Portugal.
Prediction: Portugal 4-0 Azerbaijan