Brazil continue their pre-World Cup global tour by taking on their one-time colonial overlords Portugal for the edification of the good citizens of Boston. While their rivals may be Cristiano Ronaldo-less, the Europeans are fancied to deliver at a generous 7/5 in the double chance market.
Ronaldo proved once again just how massive a miss he would be for any team when single-handedly sparing his side’s blushes against Northern Ireland with a maestro’s hat-trick at Windsor Park.
His absence in Massachusetts due to tendonitis may explain why Portugal are a whopping 9/2 to defeat Brazil, with the draw 16/5 and ‘Big Phil’ Scholari’s charges 53/100 to claim the bragging rights.
However, despite the fact that Ronaldo has scored four of his country’s last five goals, his nation can win without him as they showed when successfully negotiating a potentially tricky trip to Azerbaijan last season.
Brazil may have given the Australians an almighty 6-0 thumping last time out, but their oft-suspected limitations against well-drilled opposition were exposed in the previous outing against Switzerland, which they lost 1-0.
That was the eighth time in 10 friendlies that their defence was breached and such permeability will encourage the Portuguese to attack their foes.
Occupying Brazil with the onerous task of defending was a large part of how the Swiss were able to subdue Neymar and friends in Basel and can undermine their attacking intents once more.
Portugal are also at least as defensively adept as the Swiss, as their goalless Euro 2012 semi-final draw with Spain has shown.
The red card-strewn Northern Ireland bash aside, only one of their last 10 outings has seen Paulo Bento’s charges allow their foes more than a single goal.
Although none of those adversaries boasted Brazil’s attacking credentials, Portugal limited a Dutch side that had scored 12 goals in their previous four games to a draw in their first match of 2013/14 and are capable of nullifying their opponents.
As such they’re definitely worth a double chance second glance in Boston.