Football Predictions

Portugal v Switzerland: Uefa Nations League predictions, match preview & expected XIs

By Harry Edwards

Published: 19:05, 3 June 2019

The Uefa Nations League returns this week with the first ever finals tournament.

In the first semi-final, hosts Portugal face Switzerland after they topped their respective groups in November 2018.

Read on for Portugal v Switzerland live stream options, team news, predicted XIs, stats and TV channel info.

When is Portugal vs Switzerland?

Competition: Uefa Nations League

Venue: Estadio do Dragao

Date: Wednesday, 5 June

Kick-off: 7:45 PM BST

Where can I watch live?

UK residents can watch Portugal v Switzerland on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football, channels 401 and 403 respectively on Sky, and channels 501 and 503 respectively for Virgin Media users.

Head-to-head

Wednesday’s semi-final will be the 23rd meeting between Portugal and Switzerland, and the first since October 2017 in qualification for the 2018 World Cup. Portugal won that game 2-0 but are still behind Switzerland for overall victories – with the Swiss on 10 to Portugal’s seven.

Portugal wins: 7 Draws:Switzerland wins: 10

Match preview

With top-level club football done for the summer, international competition returns with the inaugural Uefa Nations League finals.

Four teams will battle it out for the trophy, with Portugal and Switzerland contesting the first semi-final on Wednesday.

Hosts Portugal finished unbeaten atop group A3 last year, with two wins and two draws against Italy and Poland, which saw them confirm qualification to the finals with a game to spare.

Switzerland, meanwhile, are the shock participants in the final after finishing ahead of Belgium in group A2 on goal difference in games between the two sides. After a 2-1 defeat in Belgium, Switzerland came from 2-0 down to beat their rivals 5-2 at home in the final game of group, condemning the favourites to second place.

Their reward is a tie against a Portugal side who will have the large majority of the backing in Porto, and currently sit one place above the Swiss in the Fifa world rankings.

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What is the format of the Nations League finals?

After the drama and head-scratching which came with the group stages last autumn, the finals for the Uefa Nations League are rather straightforward.

The winner of Wednesday’s semi-final between Portugal and Switzerland will face the winner of Netherlands v England in the final on Sunday, June 9 in Porto.

Whoever loses will take part in a third-place play-off with the other losing semi-finalist, also on Sunday, June 9 in Guimaraes.

Should the game be level at full-time, then extra-time will take place before a potential penalty shootout to settle the tie.

Will Cristiano Ronaldo play?

Portugal’s qualification for the Nations League finals was earned without their talisman Cristiano Ronaldo, with the Juventus star taking a break from international football following a disappointing World Cup amid allegations of sexual assault – which Ronaldo denies.

But the 34-year-old returned for the European Championship qualifiers in March, with Portugal drawing against Ukraine and Serbia. And Ronaldo has also been included in his Fernando Santos’ 23-man squad for the Nations League finals, looking to extend his record as the most-capped player in Portugal’s history, currently sitting on 156.

Speaking in May shortly before announcing his final squad, Portugal manager Santos said of Ronaldo: “He has a constant appreciation and passion for his country.”

Santos will name his squad for the inaugural finals on 23 May and said Portugal’s all-time top scorer Ronaldo will “certainly be” selected.

“His absence in the qualifying stages was very well explained and was a totally legitimate and understandable decision. He explained [to] us well.

“We understood that the best way was that he would not be with us in that period.”

Will VAR be in use?

Despite some of the controversies which have followed it in the past year, the video assistant referee will be in use for all four games at the Uefa Nations League finals.

The decision was confirmed on December 3, the day the draw for the finals was made and will be the first time VAR is used for a national team competition run by Uefa – after its use in the Champions League knockout stages and Europa League final.

As usual, VAR will be used to check for clear and obvious errors relating to four “match-changing” situations: goals, red cards, mistaken identity and incidents in the penalty area.

Goal-line technology will also be in use in the Nations League finals.

Team news

Portugal will have a fully fit squad for Wednesday’s game against Switzerland but will be unable to call upon Danilo, with the Porto midfielder suspended after being sent off in the final Nations League group stage game.

Meanwhile, Switzerland will be hoping to call upon Xherdan Shaqiri, who linked up with the squad late, after his appearance on the bench in Liverpool’s Champions League final win over Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday. Granit Xhaka also returned late after playing in the Europa League final for Arsenal but should be expected to start.

Predicted Line-ups

1. Ronaldo to return?

With Cristiano Ronaldo returning to action for Portugal in March, there is no doubt the Juventus man will be leading the line for Fernando Santos’ side.

When he is in the team, Santos tends to opt for a 4-2-2-2 formation, so Dyego Sousa is likely to join Ronaldo in attack.

Elsewhere, Joao Moutinho could come in to replace the suspended Danilo in midfield alongside William Carvalho, with Bernardo Silva playing slightly further forward.

Predicted Portugal XI (4-2-2-2): Patricio; Cancelo, Pepe, Dias, Guerreiro; Carvalho, Moutinho; Bernardo, Rafa Silva; Ronaldo, Sousa.

2. Enter Shaqiri

Though he would have spent the weekend celebrating, Xherdan Shaqiri should link up with the Switzerland squad fairly fresh, after being an unused substitute in Liverpool’s Champions League final win. As such, the 27-year-old should find himself straight into the Switzerland team, forming a front three alongside Haris Seferovic and Steven Zuber.

Elsewhere, Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka should form the base of a three-man midfield, while Ricardo Rodriguez provides the experience at 26 in a youthful back four.

Predicted Switzerland XI (4-3-3): Sommer; Mbabu, Elvedi, Akanji, Rodriguez; Freuler, Xhaka, Zakaria; Shaqiri, Seferovic, Zuber.

3. Portugal to switch formation

While Cristiano Ronaldo’s inclusion in the starting XI is certain, who partners him is far from.

There are a number of options in Portugal’s squad, and Uefa’s official website believes Fernando Santos could actually move away from his favoured formation when his side face Switzerland.

They predict a 4-3-3 with Bernardo Silva and Goncalo Guedes providing the width either side of Ronaldo. In midfield, Ruben Neves and Bruno Fernandes join William Carvalho, with the usual back five behind them.

Uefa.com‘s predicted Portugal XI (4-3-3): Patricio; Cancelo, Pepe, Dias, Guerreiro; Neves, Carvalho, Fernandes; Bernardo, Ronaldo, Guedes.

Squawka Prediction

The hosts usually prevail in games between Portugal and Switzerland, with only five away wins in the 22 previous matches. So that should see a win for Portugal, booking a place in the final. 2-0 Portugal.