Our prediction for this Nations League match:
Portugal and Italy have played each other 25 times in their footballing history. Italy has won a whopping 18 out of those 25 games, with Portugal being triumphant in only five games. In their last six head to head encounters, Italy has won five times and Portugal just once, in their last match, beating Italy at home 1:0 three years ago. Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup, but Portugal did. However, they didn’t impress, winning just once in the group stage and losing to Uruguay in the 1/8 finals. The form of both teams, before this match at Benfica’s Estadio do Sport field in Lisbon, is not great. Both only managed three wins in the last 10 matches. Portugal had five draws and two defeats while Italy have drawn four and lost three games. Italy has a point to prove which makes them a dangerous opponent. Portugal will have to work hard to win this home game.
Highlighted Player (Pepe):
Pepe is a professional footballer who plays for Porto as a defender. The Portuguese international played for Maritimo at the start of his senior career and in 2004 he moved to Porto. After making 64 league appearances for the Dragons, he signed a contract with Real Madrid in 2007 and he quickly established himself as a first-team regular.
Pepe is well known for his hard tackles and referees often show him red card. The Real Madrid centre back often played as a defensive midfielder under Jose Mourinho and it has to be noted that he scored five goals in all competitions in the 2013/2014 La Liga campaign.
The Portuguese footballer won his second Champions League trophy with Real Madrid in the 2015/2016 season and later in 2016 he helped A Selecao win the European Championship trophy. Portugal defeated France in the title game and Pepe played an important role in Fernando Santos’ team in the Euro 2016 final. The Real Madrid defender was born in Maceio, Brazil on 26 February, 1983.
Highlighted Team (Italy):
With four World Cup titles and one European Championship trophy, Italy remain one of world’s most successful teams and they have also finished as runners up at major tournaments on four occasions. The Azzurri have become famous for their result oriented football over the years which is perfectly suited for World Cup and Euro finals, so it is now a surprise when they fail to reach the final stages.
After winning the second and third edition of the World Cup, Italy endured a difficult period until lifting their first European Championship title in 1968, while they also managed to show some improvement at the turn of the century. While winning the 2006 World Cup in Germany, the Azzurri reached Euro finals in 2000 and 2012, and they are still regarded as one of the leading sides in Europe.
There have been too many high-profile players leaving their mark on the national team to count, but the likes of Paolo Maldini, Gianluigi Buffon, Fabio Cannavaro, Dino Zoff, Roberto Baggio, Luigi Riva and Alessandro Del Piero will go down as some of the most successful ones.