Portugal host Sweden in the UEFA Nations League at the Estadio Jose Alvalade in Lisbon on Wednesday night, and they will do so without the services of star player Cristiano Ronaldo after the Juventus striker tested positive for COVID-19.
The Portuguese played a goalless draw against France in Paris on Sunday, which means that the two heavyweights are currently level on points at the top of Group 3 in League A.
Sweden have lost all their three games in the Nations League so far, the most recent being a 2-1 loss to Croatia in Zagreb on Sunday.
Goals from Nikola Vlasic and Andrej Kramaric meant Marcus Berg's equaliser wasn't enough to salvage anything out of the game for the Swedes.
Portugal vs Sweden Head-to-Head
In 19 encounters between these two sides, it is Sweden who hold the advantage, however slight it may be. The Scandinavians have beaten Portugal seven times, while Portugal have won six games, with six games ending in draws.
Their most recent encounter came in the reverse fixture last month, which ended 2-0 in Portugal's favour, thanks to two sensational Ronaldo goals, on a night when the superstar scored his 100th goal for his country.
Portugal vs Sweden Team News
Portugal had pretty much their first-choice side starting their last game against France. Manchester City's Bernardo Silva is still slowly working his way back from injury, so that means a second start in three days might be a bit too much for him.
Ronaldo has been ruled out of the clash with Sweden after testing positive for coronavirus. The Portuguese captain will undergo a period of self-isolation and will therefore also likely miss out on a couple of games for his Italian club Juventus.
Liverpool's Diogo Jota could replace Bernardo in the starting XI, which could also see changes at right-back and in midfield, just to keep things fresh, and avoid player burnout. Joao Cancelo is likely to get the nod over Nelson Semedo, while Ruben Neves could replace Danilo Pereira in midfield.
Unavailable: Cristiano Ronaldo
Meanwhile, Sweden have Seattle Sounders midfielder Gustav Svensson available again, after he missed the last game against Croatia with a suspension he picked up for a red card in the reverse fixture in Stockholm.
In the likes of Dejan Kulusekvski and Alexander Isak, Sweden have some exciting young attackers in their lineup, who have the potential to trouble the Portuguese defence. However, the bigger test will be for Victor Lindelof and co. in handling the attacking firepower that Portugal possess.
Portugal vs Sweden Predicted XIs
Portugal Predicted XI (4-3-3): Rui Patricio, Joao Cancelo, Pepe, Ruben Dias, Raphael Guerreiro, William Carvalho, Ruben Neves, Bruno Fernandes, Diogo Jota, Joao Felix, Goncalo Guedes
Sweden Predicted XI (4-4-2): Robin Olsen, Mikael Lustig, Victor Lindelof, Pontus Jansson, Pierre Bengtsson, Emil Forsberg, Albin Ekdal, Kristoffer Olsson, Viktor Claesson, Alexander Isak, Marcus Berg
Portugal vs Sweden Prediction
Portugal haven't yet scored a goal in this international break, but have faced top quality opponents in Spain and France. Back at home for this game, against a side that they beat only last month, Portugal will be more confident of a strong attacking showing, and the three points.
Prediction: Portugal 2-0 SwedenPublished 13 Oct 2020, 01:00 IST