Às vésperas da ‘final’, Portugal enfrenta Andorra neste sábado, 7 de outubro, pela nona (penúltima) rodada das eliminatórias europeias para a Copa do Mundo da Rússia de 2018. Com início agendado para 15h45 (horário de Brasília), o jogo acontece no estádio Nacional, em Andorra.
Andorra’s recent performance
Running away from the Group B lantern is the goal of the Andorra squad in this final double round of the qualifiers. In addition to Portugal, the team will face Latvia in a direct duel for fifth place.
At the moment, the post is occupied by Andorra, which added four points (one win, one draw and six defeats) with two goals scored and 17 conceded. The team comes from a sequence of three defeats (two official games and one friendly) without being able to score a single goal. Latvians have three points (one win and seven losses).
The current form of Portugal
The Portuguese fight is well above the leaderboard. After losing 2-0 to Switzerland in the first round of the qualifiers, the European champions in 2016 drew a run of seven wins to 21 points.
The Swiss, however, also won all their games. So they hold the lead with 24 points. Only Germany, four-time world champion, also made 100% use in the first eight rounds.
Thus, the game against Switzerland, scheduled for next Tuesday, October 10, is being seen as a decision for the selection of Portugal. After all, most likely the duel will indicate the champion of the group, the only one that has a vacancy assured in the Russian World. The second-place finisher will need to go through the recap to try to reach the standings.
In this way, the departure of this Saturday is practically a “friendly preparatory”, although Portugal can not afford to lose points. After all, this would allow the Swiss to qualify early if they defeat Hungary. The game, also for the ninth round, is set for this Saturday at the same time.
The coach Fernando Santos called 25 athletes for the clashes making some significant changes in relation to the last call. He called back Éder and Renato Sanches, recovered from injury, and set aside veteran left-back Fabio Coentrão.
History of the matches between Andorra and Portugal
The Portuguese team has won all four matches against Andorra. In the first round of the qualifiers for the 2018 Russian World Cup he thrashed 6-0.