Portugal vs Liechtenstein: Head to head statistics
The Roberto Martínez era begins for Portugal.
Following A Seleção’s World Cup quarter-final exit at the hands of Morocco, Fernando Santos’ eight year tenure as Head Coach came to an end.
Santos wasn’t the most-popular of managers but, having guided Portugal to the first two major trophies of their history, winning the Euros and the Nations League, Martínez has a lot to live up to.
Portugal have qualified for all 12 major tournaments this century and will face little difficulty in maintaining that record here.
With Bosnia & Herzegovina, Iceland, Slovakia and Luxembourg completing Group J, it wouldn’t be that surprising if they ended a campaign with maximum points for the first time ever.
Here, they face the second-worst team in Europe, based on Nations League ranking, so expect plenty of goals in Lisbon.
Liechtenstein come into this campaign following ten successive competitive defeats, a streak that’s only likely to be extended.
The Blue-Reds lost all eight matches in 2022, ending up rock bottom of their Nations League D group, scoring just one goal and conceding 11 against fellow-minnows Latvia, Moldova and Andorra.
This form cost Martin Stocklasa his job as manager, with Rene Pauritsch currently in interim charge.
In terms of qualifiers, since their last win, coming in 2014, Liechtenstein have lost 32 of 36 matches, mustering just four draws.
Portugal have scored 35 goals in seven previous meetings, with that figure set to significantly increase at Estádio José Alvalade.
Portugal team news
The headline news is that, despite now playing for Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia, Cristiano Ronaldo has been called up.
Ronaldo’s record-breaking 118 international goals have been scored against 46 different teams, looking to add Liechtenstein to that list.
Assuming the captain starts, he could have quite the support cast behind him, featuring Bernardo Silva, João Félix, Rafael Leão, Bruno Fernandes or fit again Diogo Jota.
João Moutinho’s international career appears to be over, with Wolves teammate Rúben Neves and Fulham’s João Palhinha set to start in midfield.
With Diogo Costa having picked up a muscular injury, the vastly experienced Rui Patrício will be back in goal.
Predicted XI (4-3-3): Patrício; Dalot, Dias, Danilo, Mendes; Palhinha, Neves, Fernandes; Silva, Leão, Ronaldo.
Liechtenstein team news
Yanik Frick is out injured, but brother Noah will start in attack; he scored the last time they avoided defeat in qualifying, drawing 1-1 with Armenia two years ago.
If captain Nicolas Hasler features, he’ll earn his 92nd cap, aiming to become the fifth Liechtensteiner to represent the national team over 100 times.
Centre-back Andreas Malin was sent off in their last game, a 1-0 defeat in Gibraltar, but, as it was a friendly, no ban was incurred.
Predicted XI (5-4-1): Büchel; Yildiz, Andreas Malin, Wolfinger, Traber, Hofer; Wieser, Sele, Hasler, Meier; Frick.
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