Monday, May 27, 2024

Preview: Slovenia vs. Portugal – prediction, team news, lineups

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Sports Mole previews Tuesday’s friendly clash between Slovenia and Portugal, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Roberto Martinez will be looking to continue his perfect record as Portugal head coach when his team take on Slovenia in an international friendly in Ljubljana on Tuesday night.

The visitors will enter the contest off the back of a 5-2 victory over Sweden on Thursday, while Slovenia were held to a 2-2 draw by Malta on the same evening.


Match preview

© Reuters

Slovenia found Malta to be tricky opposition on Thursday, and they needed an 81st-minute goal from Benjamin Sesko to make it 2-2, with the spoils being shared in what was a close match in Ta’ Qali.

The clash with Malta proved to be Slovenia’s second friendly of the year, as they were also in action in January, recording a 1-0 victory over the United States.

Matjaz Kek‘s side have qualified for the finals of Euro 2024, with the national team preparing to compete in the finals of a European Championship for the first time since 2000, when they went out in the group stage.

Slovenia impressed in their qualification process for this summer’s tournament, picking up 22 points from their 10 matches, which left them second in Group H behind Denmark.

Kek’s team have two more friendlies in the diary for June against Armenia and Bulgaria before opening their Euro 2024 challenge against Denmark on June 16, and they will also take on Serbia and England in what is shaping up to be a very interesting section.

Portugal's Rafael Leao celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on March 21, 2024© Reuters

Portugal, meanwhile, will enter this match off the back of a 5-2 success over Sweden on Thursday, which made it 11 straight wins for Martinez since he became head coach of the national side in January 2023.

A Selecao das Quinas have won every match since their 1-0 defeat to Morocco in the quarter-finals of the 2022 World Cup, breezing through their qualification campaign for Euro 2024, finishing top of Group J with a perfect record of 10 victories from 10 matches, scoring 36 times and conceding just twice.

Martinez’s side should certainly be in the conversation when it comes to potential winners of this summer’s tournament, and they previously lifted the trophy in 2016 but were disappointedly eliminated in the last-16 stage of Euro 2020, having been beaten 1-0 by Belgium.

Portugal will face Finland, Croatia and the Republic of Ireland in three friendlies at the start of June before opening their Euro 2024 challenge against the Czech Republic on June 18, while they will also face Turkey and either Georgia or Greece in Group F.

The Iberian nation are on a run of five straight victories in friendly matches, while they have not been beaten in a non-competitive match since a 3-0 loss to the Netherlands in March 2018.

Slovenia friendly form:

Slovenia form (all competitions):

Portugal friendly form:

Portugal form (all competitions):


Team News

Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates on October 13, 2023© Reuters

Slovenia have a couple of standout names in their squad, with Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak one of the best goalkeepers in world football, while RB Leipzig forward Sesko is a highly-rated 20-year-old.

Sesko and his strike partner Andraz Sporar, who plays his club football for Panathinaikos, were both on the scoresheet against Malta last time out, and it would not be a surprise to see the pair continue in the final third.

Nino Zugelj is the only uncapped player in the squad, and he will be hoping to be given the opportunity to impress at some stage, but it is expected to be a familiar starting side, including Jasmin Kurtic, who is in line to win his 91st cap for his country.

As for Portugal, Bernardo Silva, Ruben Dias, Joao Palhinha, Nelson Semedo, Toti Gomes, Rafael Leao, Bruno Fernandes and Goncalo Ramos have been released from the squad following the clash with Sweden.

It is a case of eight out and eight in, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Diogo Dalot, Joao Cancelo, Danilo Pereira, Otavio, Ruben Neves, Vitinha and Joao Felix all in line to feature against Slovenia, having not been involved on Thursday.

There had been some concern over Cancelo, with the defender missing Barcelona’s clash with Atletico Madrid last weekend due to concerns over a potential heart problem, but tests showed no issue, and he should therefore be involved in this contest.

Ronaldo remains a vital player for Portugal at the age of 39, and he will be aiming to add to the 128 goals that he has managed for the national side in Tuesday’s friendly.

Slovenia possible starting lineup:
Oblak; Balkovec, Bijol, Drkusic, Stojanovic; Mlakar, Kurtic, Cerin, Horvat; Sesko, Sporar

Portugal possible starting lineup:
Patricio; Dalot, Pepe, A Silva, Cancelo; Danilo, R Neves, Vitinha; Otavio, Ronaldo, Felix


SM words green background

We say: Slovenia 1-2 Portugal

Portugal will have fresh legs for this contest, but there will be some key players missing for Martinez’s side. Slovenia struggled against Malta last time out, and we are predicting more frustration for the hosts here, as Portugal’s quality should allow them to post a 12th straight victory under Martinez.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.


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