Portugal, a $26 chance with Ladbrokes to win the 2018 FIFA World Cup tournament in Russia, which places them as eighth favourites, proved that anything can and does happen in football, as they permitted lowly Tunisia ($501) to gain a 2 – 2 draw in a warm-up match.
Fernando Santos’ side came out flying, despite having not yet been joined by marquee striker Cristiano Ronaldo, who only recently completed his Champions League duty with Real Madrid.
Tunisia was down 2 – 0 before Anice Badri pulled a goal back and Fakhreddine Ben Youssef supplied the equalizer that came as a shock that was hard to swallow for Portugal.
“The result (I wanted) was not this, it was to win,” said Santos. “Results are important and a draw is never a good result, it will never be. We didn’t play well in the second half, we allowed Tunisia to play. We could have killed the game and then it happened (the equaliser).”
Results such as this are why they play the game. Elsewise, the outcome could be left to the machines, such as the one that gave the Azzurri a better chance than the Socceroos, despite Italy’s not qualifying for the tournament. Italy, by the way beat Saudi Arabia ($1001.00), proof positive that tipping WC football is slightly harder than backing the right punt for the Melbourne Cup.
Iran ($501) beat Turkey (not playing) 2 – 1 in Istanbul, but Iran still seems to need to improve and will undoubtedly find it hard to progress beyond the Group stage, as they have Portugal and Spain ($7.00) in Group B with them. Spain won it all in 2010 and the Spaniards do not take their football lightly, although as best we know, they do not decapitate their captains for losing, at least not in the past several centuries or so.