European Championship Last 16: Portugal vs. Slovenia

A mouth-watering clash in the last 16 as Portugal and Slovenia play each other on Monday at 18.00 CET. Quite a surprise that these two sides meet at this stage, as Portugal were expected to sail through their group. However, Portugal’s surprising defeat to Georgia saw them falter in the last group stage match. Meanwhile, Slovenia fought hard to secure their first-ever knockout stage appearance.

Portugal Team News

Roberto Martinez was pleased to see key players rested against Georgia, but will recall them for this crucial match. Bernardo Silva, Joao Cancelo, and Vitinha are set to return to the starting lineup. Ronaldo, despite his recent scoring drought, is expected to lead the attack, with support from Leao and Bruno Fernandes. Martinez has no major injury concerns and will field his strongest XI to ensure progression.

Slovenia Team News

Slovenia’s Matjaz Kek will rely heavily on his star players, Jan Oblak and Benjamin Sesko, to challenge the Portuguese side. Oblak, familiar with many Portuguese players from his time at Benfica, will be a key figure. The squad is at full strength, with Jure Balkovec expected to replace the suspended Erik Janza at left-back. Kek will likely stick to his trusted 4-4-2 formation, hoping to counter Portugal’s attack.

Portugal Form

Portugal started strong with wins against the Czech Republic and Turkey, but their defeat to Georgia exposed some vulnerabilities. Despite their dominance in possession and goal attempts, Portugal will need to rediscover their finishing touch to advance further. Historically strong in knockouts, they have lost just three of their last 25 post-group stage games.

Slovenia Form

Slovenia’s journey to the last 16 has been historic, securing their place with draws against Denmark, Serbia, and England. Their defensive resilience has been commendable, although they have struggled in possession. Their unbeaten streak now extends to nine matches, giving them a confidence boost heading into this challenging fixture.

What do the stats say?

Portugal and Slovenia have only met once before, with Portugal winning 2-0 in a friendly. Portugal have not lost back-to-back competitive games since Euro 2008. Slovenia are making their debut in the knockout stage of a major tournament.

Our verdict

Based on current form and historical strength, Portugal are strong favourites for this game. The bookmakers’ odds reflect this, with Portugal heavily backed to win. Slovenia’s defensive approach and reliance on counter-attacks might not be enough to overcome Portugal’s firepower. However, Slovenia’s resilience and the unpredictability of knockout football mean an upset cannot be ruled out entirely.

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