Portugal vs. France
Antoine Griezmann, Dimitri Payet and host nation France face Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani, and Portugal at Stade de France in Saint-Denis just north of Paris on Sunday in the much-anticipated UEFA EURO 2016 Final. Let’s put it all in the blender and try to come up with some sage picks in a match for all the marbles which should see a decent number of quality shots on target throughout and probably be a lot closer than the opening odds indicate. Soccer odds have France solid +100 favorites for soccer pick over big underdogs Portugal (+375) with a Draw priced at +220 at Bet365 and the Total (Goals) set at 2 with the Over at -116 (Under -105 at NetBet).
A bunch of Props wagers for this Final: Both Teams To Score: ‘Yes’ +120, ‘No’ -162 at Bet365; Draw No Bet: France -300, Portugal +225 at Bet365; Correct Score: 0-0, +640 at Marathon, France 1-0, +500 at Boylesports, Portugal 1-0, +900 at BetVictor, France 2-1, +950 at BetVictor, Portugal 2-1, 18/1 at Bet365, France 3-1, 21/1 at 888Bet; To Win To Nil: France +190 at BetVictor, Portugal +600 at SkyBet; Total Corners: 9½: Over -116, Under -116 at 888Sport; To Score From Outside Penalty Box: Cristiano Ronaldo 6/1 at William Hill, Antoine Griezmann 10/1 at William Hill; France To Score: Yes -333 at William Hill, No +240 at Marathon; and, Portugal To Score: Yes -150 at William Hill, No +121 at Marathon.
Portugal (+187 to Lift Euro 2016 Trophy at Bet365) and Head Coach Fernando Santos finally won an EURO 2016 match in Regulation Time after 6 tries, beating Wales, 2-0 on Wednesday in Lyon in the tournament’s first Semifinal as a Seleção (#8 FIFA ranking) scored two goals in a span of 4 minutes, the opener coming on a header by a leaping Cristiano Ronaldo in the box in the 50-minute mark of the 2nd Half , followed by a Nani clincher (53’) on a simple buttery pass from CR7. Previously, Portugal had failed to win any one of its five EURO 2016 matches in Regulation (Group F play: POR 1-1 ISL, POR 0-0 AUS, POR 3-3 HUN; and Round of 16: POR 1-0 CRO Extra Time; Quarterfinals: POR 1-1 POL, Portugal won 5-3 in a Penalty Kick Shootout).
In their Semifinals showdown against Gareth Bale and Wales, Santos and a Selecção had a Starting XI (4-1-2-1-2) of GK Rui Patrício; LB Cedric Soares, CB José Fonte, CB Bruno Alves, RB Raphaël Guerreiro; CDM Danilo Pereira; MF Renato Sanches, MF João Mário; AMF Adrien Silva; with F Cristiano Ronaldo and F Nani. Andre Gomes was substituted in for Renato Sanches (74’), João Moutinho came in for Silva (79’) and Ricardo Quaresma came in for Nani (89’) for Santos and the Selecção, showing the talent of the Portuguese Bench.
Usual starting Defenders Pepe (Muscle Pain) and William Carvalho (Suspended) both missed the match with Alves replacing Pepe and Raphaël Guerreiro getting the start at RB. Once again, the play of expected starting GK Patrício (Sporting Clube de Portugal) should be massive here with France having evolved such a deadly scoring attack in this tournament and averaging 3.0 gpg in this Group Stage after scoring 2 (Germany), 5 (Iceland) and 2 (Republic of Ireland) goals so far in the Semifinals, Quarterfinals and Round of 16 respectively.
UEFA EURO 2016 host nation France (-225 to Lift Euro 2016 Trophy at Bet365) and Head Coach Didier Deschamps have gotten to this point by playing a wonderful blend of Offense and Defense with GK Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur) coming up strong against Germany on Thursday in the tournament’s second Semifinal, notching a 2-0 Clean Sheet against the defending World Cup champions in Marseille after benefitting from a late 1st Half handball called in the box on Germany’s Bastian Schweinsteiger (Manchester United). Antoine Griezmann (Atlético Madrid) calmy connected on the Penalty Kick to give the French a 1-0 lead after 45+ minutes, and Les Bleus sealed the deal in the 2nd Half on the French Home soil when Griezmann scored at the 72-minute mark as France held of a late flurry by Germany for the Win and coveted berth in these Finals.
In the win over Germany, France (FIFA ranking #17) Head Coach Deschamps had a Starting XI (4-2-3-1) of GK Hugo Lloris; Defenders LB Bacary Sagna, CB Laurent Koscielny, CB Samuel Umtiti and RB Patrice Evra; CMF Blaise Matuidi, CMF Paul Pogba; MF Moussa Sissoko, MF Antoine Griezmann, MF Dimitri Payet; and Olivier Giroud up top at the lone Forward spot for Les Bleus. N’golo Kante came in for Payet (71’), André-Pierre Gignac subbed in for Giroud (78’) and Yohan Cabaye (First Goalscorer 15/1 at 888Sport) came in for hero Griezmann (First Goalscorer +400 at William Hill) very late (92’).
Saint-Denis, France Weather Forecast, Team Forms, Conclusions, Picks
The AccuWeather Forecast for Saint-Denis on Sunday evening is calling for Mostly Cloudy Skies, a Low of 63° with NW Winds gusting to 13 mph, so, near-perfect Summer conditions for a championship game with low 11% Precipitation predicted. Lifetime, France is a dominating 18-1-5 (43 GF-25 GA) overall against Portugal and 2-0-0 against a Seleção (5 GF-3 GA) in EURO play, with France beating Portugal, 3-2 in Added Extra Time in the 1984 EURO here in France and 2-1—again in Added Extra Time (Extra Time? Yes +225 No -283, Bwin)—2-1 in the 2000 Belgium/Holland EURO tournament, also in the Semifinals Round.
The last time these two these two sides actually met on a pitch was in a Friendly, last September (2015), won by France 1-0. The last time Portugal (DDDWDW) actually beat France in any competition was in a Friendly way back in 1975 (2-0) when a gallon of gas cost just 57 cents and Bellbottom pants were all the rage. Here, the big thing—besides its winning History against Portugal, the Site, and huge Home-pitch Advantage—is the deadly (and now Confident) France (WWDWWW) attack.
Les Bleus have never had so many guys clicking on on Offense on its national team and/or able to come in as Subs as it does now with the electric Payet (France Top Goalscorer 5/1, BetVictor), Pogba (First Goalscorer +850 at BetBright), Griezmann (France Top Goalscorer -350 at BetVictor) and Giroud (5/1 France Top Goalscorer at BetVictor) getting nods in Deschamps’ now usual Starting XI with players like Sissoko (First Goalscorer 16/1 at BetBright), Gignac (6/1 First Goalscorer at WilliamHill), Kingsley Coman (First Goalscorer +850 at BetBright) and Anthony Martial (First Goalscorer +750 at WilliamHill) all also able to come in and shine of needed. A sudden embarrassment of riches, which has blossomed nicely for this tournament.
The prevailing thought here is that the Pace will be very quick from the start and that the total number of quality shots on target on both Patricio and Lloris will be pretty high, possibly in the 8-15 range, meaning that there should end up being at least one goal from Portugal and CR7 (First Goalscorer +550, BetBright) and probably at least two from the hosts France, with the red-hot Griezmann probably getting another tally here is such a big spot.
But can Portugal win this? Of course, it can, but scoring first and not letting France dominate Time of Possession will be keys for a Seleção and the 31-year-old Ronaldo to pull off the perceived upset. And with Portugal winning just once in Regulation and not facing the same gauntlet of clubs France did on the tougher side of the Bracket, the lean here has to go to the team with more scoring options and with three of the best overall players in this tourney in GK Lloris (Man of the Match—[Any Goalkeeper] +800 at BetVictor), playmaker Payet (Man of the Match +600 at BetVictor) and scorer Griezmann (Man of the Match +500 at BetVictor).
This should be a relatively fast-paced game with superstar Ronaldo having his obligatory glory moment but with the 29-year-old Nice-native Lloris and the hosts, France finally getting some glory in a tournament which has really had its share of parity this time around. It seems if you can beat Germany, then finding a way to outscore Portugal in 90 minutes in suburban Paris shouldn’t bee too hard with the front six Deschamps will get to put out there here. And France could very well go Over the Total (Goals) in this spot themselves with this Roster of dynamic Midfielders, but expect Portugal to put up quite the fight at the Stade de France in a match where backing the Over (at 2) in a straight bet seems like the best logical handicapping advice.
PREDICTED FINAL SCORE: Portugal 1 France 2
Free Soccer Pick: Over 2 -116
Best Line Offered: at NetBet
EURO 2016 Final Props Picks: Cristiano Ronaldo First Goalscorer +550 at BetBright, Antoine Griezmann Man of the Match +500 at BetVictor, France To Lift Trophy -225 at Bet365