Portugal vs. Greece for World Cup Preparation

Steven Suarez

Wednesday, May 28, 2014 5:46 PM GMT

Wednesday, May. 28, 2014 5:46 PM GMT

Both Portugal and Greece begin their World Cup preparations with an important friendly in Lisbon. With each manager surely having some key squad decisions to make, we're eager to see how the two countries line up this weekend. What's our best bet with our soccer picks?

Odds Overview
Estadio Nacional plays host to this warm-up friendly and it's no surprise to see Portugal as the soccer betting odds favorites on their home ground. The lines show Cristiano Ronaldo and company in the -200 to -225 range to win outright, with Greece listed at +650 to +750 and a draw at approximately +300.

 

Portugal
This meeting with Greece will be the first of three friendlies Portugal will take part in as they prepare for the World Cup, which begins in close to two weeks. They'll face off against Mexico on June 6th and Ireland four days later, with both games taking place in America.

After disappointing in qualifying, the Portuguese had to face off against Sweden in the playoff, with a spot in the World Cup on the line. Cristiano Ronaldo scored all four of the side's goals in the two matches and pretty much dragged them to Brazil by himself.

It'll be a tough group for Portugal in Brazil, as they're in what many are calling the Group of Death alongside Germany, Ghana and the USA.

We know Ronaldo will be up to his usual tricks, but what other players should we be tracking? You have to figure the likes of Pepe, Fabio Coentrao and Bruno Alves are locks to start in defense, while Raul Meireles, Joao Moutinho, Nani and Helder Postiga are likely to make the starting XI as well.

However, we're really excited to watch young William Carvalho and wouldn't be surprised if he earns his way into more playing time. After impressing for Sporting Lisbon, the 22-year old defensive midfielder has been garnering interest from a lot of the top clubs around the world. 

Take a Look at the World Cup Betting Odds Shift Offering New Betting Value!

Greece
The Greeks had to earn their way into the World Cup by winning in the elimination playoffs, where they topped Romania 4-2 on aggregate.

And, though they've had success qualifying for the major tournaments, they haven't done as well as they would have liked on the big stage since that shocking European Championship victory in 2004. Manager Fernando Santos will hope that all changes starting in June.

In Brazil, Greece will have to compete against Colombia, Japan and Ivory Coast in what's one of the most even groups at the World Cup.

Individually, there's a lot of pressure on Georgios Samaras to make a significant impact. The powerful striker recently left Celtic and he could earn a massive contract at a top club should he showcase his skills in the best way possible.

Others to keep an eye out for include Giorgos Karagounis and Kostas Mitroglou, who both currently play for Fulham. Karagounis has 137 caps for Greece, while Mitroglou has eight goals in 28 career caps for the national team. It was a forgettable season for Mitroglou in London, but we know he has the quality to make things happen up front. 

 

Soccer Pick
It's hard to predict scores in friendlies, but assuming Ronaldo is in the starting XI, we like Portugal to survive with a hard-fought win at home.

Yes, that's just how good he is. The 29-year old has 49 goals in 110 appearances for the national team throughout his career and is coming off a 2013/14 campaign which saw him net 31 goals and nine assists in 31 La Liga matches.

With Ronaldo wrecking havoc out there, along with a solid supporting cast, we don't like Greece's chances of the upset. Side with the Portuguese here.

Soccer Pick: Portugal 2 Greece 1

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