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With a berth at the FIFA World Cup finals at stake, Portugal is all set to host North Macedonia this Tuesday, in the play-off finals.
Portugal fought off a spirited Turkish team in the playoff semifinals to keep their finals campaign alive. The home team got an early advantage in the 15th minute with an Otavio strike and extended the lead to 2-0 by halftime. Turkey did make a comeback in the 65th minute with a goal by Burak Yilmaz but squandered a golden opportunity to equalize after Yilmaz failed to score off of a penalty.
With Nunes scoring again in the stoppage time, Portugal finished with a comfortable 3-1 win. This was the first win for Portugal in its last 3 games, having drawn with Ireland and lost to Serbia in the final games of the group stage. Having gained momentum at just the right time, most football betting sites are predicting Portugal to book a ticket to Qatar after this game.
North Macedonia has pulled off the upset of the year, as it knocked out European Champions Italy in the playoff semifinals. Starting the game as underdogs, North Macedonia put up a spirited defense, warding off 32 shots by the Italian forwards, 5 of which were on target. The Azzurri missed some good chances to open up a lead, including an easy chance for Domenico Berardi.
North Macedonia kept its nerve till the end, and a sensational right-footed strike in the stoppage time, by its most capped player, Aleksander Trajkovski, from just outside the area, saw the ball go right past Italian goalie Gianluigi Donnarumma. The stadium erupted with shrieks of sheer ecstasy by the Macedonian fans, while the Italians went stoic. The team will now be focusing on the challenge at hand and will be looking to score another upset as they travel to Porto.
Match prediction and betting tips for Portugal vs North Macedonia, play-off finals, FIFA World Cup European qualifiers. The match is going to be played at Estadio do Dragao, Portugal, on 29th March 2022.
Portugal talisman Cristiano Ronaldo has warned his teammates against taking their opponents for granted. The team will show no complacency as it looks to give a fitting farewell in what could be the final World Cup appearance for their star striker. Ruben Dias is likely to miss out on this game, while Joao Cancelo and Renato Sanches will be back after serving their suspension.
The visitors have a fully fit squad to choose from, and in fact will be buoyed with the return of Kostadinov and Elmas, both of whom were suspended.
Despite its reputation as giant killers, we find it unlikely that North Macedonia can pull off another upset.
Bet on a Portugal win.