By Thomas Reynolds
Last Updated: 25th June 2018
Monday 25th June
Kick-off: 7:00pm BST
Stadium: Mordovia Arena, Saransk
Iran vs Portugal, permutations of Group B
With Morocco’s elimination confirmed, the top two places are still up for grabs with Spain and Portugal sitting on four points and Iran right behind on three. A point for Portugal against Iran would see them qualify.
Iran will qualify with victory over Portugal, they would win the group unless Spain also won.
Interestingly, Portugal and Spain have the same amount of points, goals scored and goal difference but Spain tip Portugal to the top of the group because of their superior Fair Play record.
If both sides suffer defeats then team with the bigger loss would be eliminated. If they both win then the team with the biggest win will finish top of their section.
The Seleccao are 6/4 second-favourites in the Group B winner odds, while Iran are 19/5 simply to qualify for the next round.
Iran vs Portugal odds
Both nations know that nothing less than victory is likely to be enough to secure them a place in the knockout rounds and the Seleccao are hot favourites to prevail at odds of 4/6, with the draw 13/5 and what would be a historic triumph for the Iranians the 9/2 match-betting outsider.
Iran vs Portugal match stats
Seven of Portugal’s last ten matches at major tournament finals have ended all square at 90 minutes and they also drew two of their last three pre-World Cup friendlies.
A further omen that viewers could be in for a something of war of attrition in Saransk comes from Team Melli’s formbook. Nine of the last ten games involving Carlos Quieroz’s men have been decided by a one-goal margin.
At least a bore draw doesn’t seem likely, but there’s every chance there won’t be many goals. Eight of Iran’s 12 matches in 2017/18 saw fewer than three strikes netted, making odds of EVS about under 2.5 strikes in the games an appealing wager.
Iran vs Portugal key players to watch
Cristiano Ronaldo finally appears to making the kind of mark on a tournament that he has always expected he would, scoring all four of Portugal’s goals so far in Russia. Ronaldo can be backed to complete a hat-trick of winning first goalscorer wagers against the Iranians at 9/4.
Fellow Portuguese forward Adrien Silva has only been afforded one minute so far by Fernando Santos, but the AC Milan hitman had struck in each of his last three competitive internationals prior to that and will be dangerous if introduced from the bench. He’s 9/2 to notch the last strike at the Mordovia Arena.
Saeed Ezatolahi was suspended for Iran’s opener against Morocco, but Quieroz’s first choice defensive midfielder’s return to the starting XI coincided with a much better performance from his side and he came within a VAR-referred offside leg of equalizing against Spain in a match his side shone in.