Portugal will aim to stay on top of Group J with another victory as they travel to take on Luxembourg, who are unbeaten in six games.

Luxembourg, who face Portugal on Sunday, have suffered for years with the tag of minnows in European football, and rightly so. They were one of the whipping teams for top sides, often helping the giants gain massive goal-difference advantages in many previous qualification rounds.

Recently, they have shown massive improvements and are currently on a six-game unbeaten run in all competitions. The run was extended following their impressive draw against Slovakia earlier this week. But they now face the massive test of hosting group leaders Portugal.

Luc Holtz will hope their continued good performances could open the door for finishing second in this group. The position seems wide open after the first round of games. But Luxembourg will have to keep up their levels to stand a chance.

Portugal come into this game as clear favourites to win and maintain their grip on top of the table. Roberto Martinez kick-started his reign as new boss with a thorough thrashing of Liechtenstein in Lisbon, with Cristiano Ronaldo emerging as the game’s star performer.

The 38-year-old superstar was on target twice, including once from the penalty spot. Joao Cancelo and Bernardo Silva scored earlier in the game before the Al-Nassr star got his brace. The result may have been worse for Liechtenstein, but Martinez will be happy with his side’s overall performance.

Martinez wants to finish this particular round of qualifiers on a high note and lay down the marker by keeping a firm grip at the top. He would expect a similar performance against Luxembourg and increase the points gap in Group J.

Team News & Tactics


Luc Holtz will look to name an unchanged lineup from the Slovakia game that garnered a very positive result for the European minnows. The manager will have certain options on the bench and could consider tweaking his setup but will unlikely do so owing to the opposition ahead of them at home.

With a 4-4-2 shape, Anthony Moris will continue between the sticks and have a back four ahead to protect his goal. Lars Gerson earned a yellow card and will remain cautious about picking another booking. He will partner with Maxime Chanot in central defence.

Florian Bohnert and Mica Pinto will line up in the full-back positions. Leandro Barreiro and Christopher Pereira will retain their central midfield spots, with Danel Sinani and Yvandro Sanches providing width from the wings.

Luxembourg will retain their two prone attacking unit up front, with Mathias Olesen and Gerson Rodrigues leading the line for the hosts.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Moris; Bohnert, Chanot, Gerson, Pinto; Sinani, Barreiro, Pereira, Sanches; Olesen, Rodrigues


Roberto Martinez opted to retain the shape he maintained with Belgium and keep a back three in his first game in charge. He showed his squad depth power with the introduction of Rafael Leao, Ruben Neves and Goncalo Ramos. While he can introduce the trio from the start, he will unlikely change his lineup for the Luxembourg clash.

Rui Patricio will retain his place in goal ahead of Diogo Costa. Danilo Pereira, Ruben Dias and Goncalo Inacio might keep their spots in a back three for Portugal. Martinez did not use typical wing-backs but made the wide players play like attackers.

Joao Cancelo and Bruno Fernandes took up those roles and will continue playing similarly to support the other attackers. Raphael Guerreiro and Bernardo Silva supported Ronaldo and Felix up front, while Joao Palhinha held the midfield and provided ample protection to their defence.

Probable Lineup (3-1-4-2): Patricio; Danilo, Dias, Inacio; Palhinha; Cancelo, Guerreiro, Silva, Fernandes; Ronaldo, Felix

Key Stats

  • Luxembourg extended their unbeaten run to six games in all competitions.
  • Luxembourg have kept three clean sheets in their last four international games.
  • Portugal have won four of their last six games.
  • Portugal have won each of their last six games against Luxembourg.
  • Portugal have scored 18 times in their last six games against Luxembourg.

Player To Watch

Bruno Fernandes

There is plenty of criticism about Fernandes and his roles on the pitch. He has proven his worth for club and country in the past, but something’s amiss with the consistency of his displays over time. Then again, his roles in both places have been constantly changed, and once again, with Portugal, Martinez found a different role.

He was deployed out wide on the left-hand side. Fernandes usually takes up a spot on the right side of the field but did excel in the new role under Martinez. He will have to bring consistency in his displays and cement a place in the setup to become the player everyone looks up to.


Luxembourg 0-3 Portugal

Luxembourg are on a six-game unbeaten run, but that might soon end with Portugal visiting. Roberto Martinez has shown signs of correctly utilising the players under his disposal, as his side responded with a solid attacking display.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Joao Felix and Bruno Fernandes will aim to create a partnership and become a force in the attack. They will look to score as many goals past Luxembourg. However, on the safer side, the Selecao will score at least three times without conceding through their astute defensive system.

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