Welcome to the 2016 UEFA European Championship, or simply Euro 2016! This month-long football (soccer to us) tournament is now underway, being halfway through its first week. Euro 2016 predictions and odds are becoming prevalent online, leaving the fair-weather fan confused about who to cheer for, who to expect great things from and, perhaps most importantly, who to bet on. This includes Tuesday’s game between Iceland and Portugal as part of the Group F bracket. Well, we’ve decided to share our own Portugal vs. Iceland predictions and break down how this game could go to answer the question you probably are asking: “Who will win Portugal vs. Iceland?” Plus, we’ll discuss the impact it could have on the early Euro 2016 standings.
About Euro 2016
Predictions won’t help you much if you don’t understand the tournament. Anyone can just type “who will win Euro 2016” into a search engine and regurgitate someone else’s facts, but you likely want to know what you’re talking about. As mentioned, the 2016 UEFA European Championship is one-month long, having started on June 10 and set to come to an end on July 10. The event is being hosted by France across 10 cities within the country, with eight games already played as of this writing. The team to beat this year is Spain, given they won the previous two tournaments, which were held in 2008 and 2012.
This, the 15th edition of the contest, has a tournament first in which 24 teams are taking part as opposed to the prior number of 16 that first began being used in 1996. This means the bracket now consists of six groups with four teams per group, making Euro 2016 predictions tougher than in previous years due to the eight extra teams and subsequent structural changes. Of the two teams in tomorrow’s game, both have been in prior tournaments, though Iceland hasn’t appeared since 1964, arguably making them one of the ones “added” via this change; Portugal, meanwhile, was in the previous event in 2012.
Portugal vs. Iceland: Who Will Win?
When it comes to predicting Portugal’s chances against any team, it’s impossible to not discuss the major factor that is Cristiano Ronaldo. While the idea of one player being a deciding factor may seem bizarre, the Real Madrid ace is that good, as shown by his two goals during a 7-0 win against Estonia in a game played shortly before the Euro 2016 tournament got underway. If Iceland wants to stand a chance—let alone stay in the game—it’s largely going to come down to shutting down Ronaldo and not letting him command the field.
Then again, maybe one man can’t make all the difference. Aside from that squashing of Estonia, Protugal’s recent pre-tournament records are far from impressive, having lost to Russia, Bulgaria, and England while winning against Luxembourg, Belgium, and Norway. Their losses were all in low-scoring games, meaning that if Iceland can take first blood, there’s a good chance they could see success by just hunkering down and being as defensive as possible.
Being that this is the Iceland team’s first major tournament, they are going in as major underdogs. However, they looked strong in their warm-up matches, losing 3-2 to Norway but shutting out Liechtenstein with a score of 4-0; this is in contrast with their 3-6 record following qualifying for the Euro 2016 tournament.
While each team has capable players who can score the necessary goals and fluctuating win-loss records that make their chances hard to pin down, the edge has to go to Portugal simply for being the more experienced team and odds-on favorite in this match. And if you need further proof, look at the last two times these teams played each other, which was in the qualifiers for the 2012 tournament: Portugal won by two goals both times. Four years is enough time for Iceland to have learned from their mistakes and accumulate experience, but this applies to Portugal as well, so don’t be surprised if they win this game quite easily—or if they don’t, for that matter.