Paulo Bento's side will have a chance to make up for a lackluster and below par performance against Luxembourg. The Estadio Axa will welcome both teams in a match that will have the hosts down as overwhelming favorites.
Against Luxembourg, Portugal had to chase the game after going down 1-0 in the first half, but they fortunately were able to overcome a Luxembourg side that defended for their lives. Portugal may well have scored a few more goals if not for the misfortune of continuously striking the post.
Paulo Bento has said that he will repeat the same starting eleven that featured in their last match, but he has made it clear that he needed to fix a few details within the team.
"The moment of the game where we were not ourselves was when we would lose the ball, in the first defensive transition," said Bento. "The result was positive, just like the way we achieved it, after bouncing back from a negative situation. We then lacked the ability to control the match. Regardless we claimed the three points which was the primary goal."
The Portuguese players will be well aware of the expectations that their fans have of them going into matches of this sort. Playing weaker opponents is always dangerous when you are considered to be a top team due to the fact of their always being a chance of underachieving.
In the end, the victory is nearly all that matters as Paulo Bento said, but you also will set yourself up for a lot of criticism and the chance of at times not managing the positive result. Up against Azerbaijan on Tuesday, the fans that will make their way to the Estadio Axa will be looking forward to a positive offensive match from the hosts while the visitors will look to defend with everything they have.
Looking back on the days of Rui Costa, Luis Figo and company, matches against teams like Azerbaijan were not only a near automatic victory, but it would generally be by a decent amount of goals.
Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo will once again be the center of attention for the Portuguese as he generally always is. Having to deal with the media in regards to his 'unhappy' status with the Merengues didn't stop him from finding the net against Luxembourg on Friday.
Playing at home in front of his fans, hopefully Ronaldo will continue his form and lift his country to another important victory on their way to another presence in a World Cup competition.774901