In one of the more tantalising Euro 2016 warm-up fixtures, Portugal travel to London take on an England side that will be relishing the opportunity to be tested by quality opposition.
Portugal’s Fernanso Santos will be hoping to prove the depth of quality in his 23-man Euro 2016 squad as he travels to Wembley without both Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe who are still recovering from Saturday’s Champions League final.
In the absence of the Selecao’s talismanic forward, 23-year-old Joao Mario will be handed another opportunity to cement his place as the second-choice attacking midfielder. The reported Manchester United target impressed in his country’s 3–0 victory over Norway on 29 May, looking dangerous throughout the match and providing an assist for Portugal’s third.
This will be England’s final warm-up fixture before their opening match of the tournament, and Roy Hodgson will be looking to gather as much momentum as possible by putting in a solid performance against formidable opposition.
Portugal were victorious by way of penalty shootouts in the two previous encounters between the two nations, each resulting in a tournament elimination for England. Hence, a victory for the Three Lions would do wonders for their confidence ahead of the tournament.
With Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Jamie Vardy and Wayne Rooney all managing to find the back of the net in the two preceding friendlies, it is unfortunate that a calf strain is likely to deny Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge the opportunity to ensure that all five England strikers enter the tournament with a recent goal to their name.
In his pre-match press conference, Hodgson indicated that he was comfortable with how the preparations have gone for his side and that the match would not serve as an opportunity to experiment.
"I don’t need to try anything out any more," Hodgson said told reporters.
"I am not prepared to say the side that starts tomorrow will start versus Russia," he added.
Fernando Santos discussed the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo with reporters and hinted at the tactics he would employ in the much-anticipated match.
"Cristiano will be here next weekend with his team-mates with a strong desire to help the team," he said.
"The team will play very close to a dynamic 4-4-2, sometimes as a rhombus, other times a diamond."
Team news for Portugal is that, with the exception of the two absentees mentioned above, Santos will able to pick from a fully-fit squad.
Hodgson, on the other hand, is without Sturridge and is likely not to risk Gary Cahill, who has a minor hip complaint, and Chris Smalling, who came off the field with cramp against Australia.