Portugal vs Argentina:
Olympics 2016: Group D,
Date: Friday, July 2, 2016,
Kick-off: 22:00 UK Time.
Venue: Estadio Nilton Santos (Rio de Janeiro).

Argentina will kick start their Olympic football campaign against European Champions Portugal at the Estadio Nilton Santos in Rio de Janeiro.

Argentina will be keen to get over the heart break at the Copa America Centenario Final defeat to Chile. They were dealt with further blow as their star player Lionel Messi to retire from international football. Head-Coach Tata Martino also said goodbye, not the new era starts under the management of Julio Olarticoechea, a defender who played for Argentina in three FIFA World Cups – 82, 86 and 90.

Argentina have won the Olympic gold medal in Football on two occasions – 2004 in Athens and 2008 in Beijing. They were also losing finalists on 1996 Atlanta and 1928 Amsterdam. They failed to qualify for the 2012 Olympics in London.

Portugal on the other hand are still celebrating their Euro 2016 triumph. They do not have a pedigree like Argentina on the international stage, but surely have the heart to play with high spirit. They are only making their fourth appearance in Olympics Football and their ever achievement is a fourth place finish in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Portugal: Team News

The Portugal Olympics Football Team is tutored by their current under-21 national head-coach Rui Jorge.

The 21-year old Udinese midfielder Bruno Fernandes will take the armband for the national team. While all three over aged players – Sergio Oliveira, Salvador Agra and André Martins are all expected to start against Argentina.

Liverpool defender Tiago Ilori and Sporting CP striker Carlos Mane are two of the most promising talents to watch in the squad.

Portugal: Predicted Line-up (4-4-2)

Pereira – Henrique, Figueiredo, Illori, Esgaio – Silva, Martins, Fernandes, Oliveira – Agra, Mane.

Argentina: Team News

Julio Olarticoechea opt to include a number of youngsters playing their trade in Argentina domestic leagues. So there is no Angel Di Mari or Sergio Aguero as the team start their quest to re-claim the prestigious trophy.

The 21-year old strikers Giovanni Simeone of Genoa and Angel Correa of Atletico Madrid are the most promising talent to watch in the squad.

In goal they have the safe hands of Real Soceidad shot stopper Gerónimo Rulli. The 27-year old Indipendiente defender Victor Cuesta will take the armband for Argentina at the Rio Olympics.

Argentina: Predicted Line-up (4-3-3)

Rulli – Gomez, Cuesta, Magallan, Leandro Vega – Romero, Arzura, Celso – Correa, Simeone, Espinoza.

Argentina vs Portugal: Head-to-Head Stats

Argentina and Portugal were grouped together during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. The match witnessed a 1-1 draw after Ariel Ortega’s 41st minute goal was cancelled out by Nuno Gomes in the 70 minute.

The teams again met in the semi-finals, but this time Argentina grabbed the win 2-0 courtesy of a double from Hernan Crespo.

Argentina were then defeated by Nigeria 3-2 in the dying seconds of the stoppage time. While Portugal finished fourth after losing to Brazil 5-0 in the bronze medal match.

Portugal vs Argentina: Head-to-Head Stats

The numbers and stats hardly matters here as both teams will be eager to start the tournament on a high note. These are two young sides, but Argentina certainly have the edge in terms of experience as a number of their players are involved in their domestic first teams.

But I do believe this to a cagey affair and therefore a draw is the most probably outcome. Goals will be at premium, so back total goals to stay under 2.5.
Full Time Score Prediction: Portugal 0-1 Argentina.

Portugal vs Argentina: Tips

  1. Argentina to win.
  2. Under 2.5 goals.