Portugal v Malta – World Cup Qualification Group One

11th October 2009 | World Cup Betting category: World Cup Previews & Predictions
World Cup Previews & Predictions

It may not sound like one of the biggest clashes that would come to mind when considering European qualification, but little old Malta can ruin the dreams of Portugal. Portugal grabbed a crucial home win over Hungary on Saturday, which was enough to move them into second place in Group A. This was all because Sweden, who they replaced, were beaten by Group leaders Denmark, who have now secured themselves a place at World Cup 2010.

Portugal will be without their captain and influential figure of Cristiano Ronaldo, as he was taken off in the first half of the game on Saturday. He had not been fully fit going into the game and the gamble did not pay off, as he now misses their final qualification match. But the injury to his right ankle, something which he insisted himself he was over, has now come back to haunt him. Fortunately there should not be too much problem, as Malta are unlikely to cause much problems. The Maltese are bottom of the group without a win, nor a goal to their name.

It will constitute as something of a remarkable comeback for the Portuguese, after struggling to find as much of winning formula as they would have hoped. While finishing in second place will serve as their potential World Cup 2010 lifeline, they will be disappointed that not to have secured automatic qualification. With the groups finishing, there does not appear to be too easy a passage through the runner’s-up playing system, and the draw will be seeded based on the next set of FIFA rankings. The Portuguese have had to rely on Sweden slipping up and they have. Securing that second place is now in their own hands, and the final fixture could not be kinder to them.
Portugal to win: 1/50 at Bet365
Draw: 20/1 at Boylesports
Malta to win: 100/1 at Ladbrokes

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