Portugal will be gunning for a second consecutive win in the qualifiers of the UEFA Euro 2020 when they make a trip to Vilnius to play Lithuania on Tuesday night.
A 4-2 win over Serbia in Belgrade gave the Seleccao a first win after picking up two draws in their opening two fixtures. With Ronaldo leading the charge, Portugal will look to continue from where they left off last Saturday and grab another convincing win at the LFF Stadium.
Cristiano Ronaldo will have the chance to add Lithuania to the increasing list of many teams he has scored past in his impressive career. He is on track to equal Robbie Keane’s all-time European qualifiers topscoring record of 23 goals. With 21 to his name, the Portuguese forward could even surpass the Irish man. CR7 is literally just a hat-trick away from doing so.
“The important thing is that he continues to record huge numbers. I have no doubt that it will continue this way,” manager Santos told the press on Monday, when quizzed about his skipper’s ability to stretch his all-time Portuguese senior team topscorer tally to 90 goals.
Portugal are second in Group B with 5 points from three games (W1 D2). That is, eight points behind group leaders Ukraine who are on 13. It must be noted, however, that the Iberians have two games in hand compared to the table leaders and one game in hand over the three teams below them. The game against Serbia was indeed the biggest psychological battle for the Euro 2016 winners to overcome and they did it in style. Subsequently, not only have they secured at least a spot in the playoffs but they are also mathematically favored to grab automatic tickets for the UEFA Euro 2020 championship as a runners-up finish guarantees that.
Lithuania, meanwhile, are last in Group B with just a point picked from a possible 16. Valdas Urbonas’ side hasn’t tasted success yet in next year’s tournament qualifiers. Going into the game against a high profile Portugal team, they will be aiming to fight against all odds in a bid to spoil the defending champions’ party.
A look at Group B ahead of Lithuania vs Portugal on September 10, 2019:
The Lithuanians and the Portuguese have faced each other twice in a friendly. Portugal won both games with a 5-1 scoreline in August 2000, and a 4-1 win in June 2004. A 19-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo made a 26th-minute cameo in the game after replacing Luis Figo.
The 130th-ranked national football team has played two UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers at home already, sharing the spoils with Luxembourg in a one-all draw and losing to Ukraine 0-3 last Saturday. The first home encounter represented the only point Urbonas and his men have gained so far from four matches.
Portugal, on the other hand, are on the lookout to build a 100 percent away games streak after collapsing Serbia. Next month’s clash against Luxembourg will offer them a new opportunity to improve their home form after failing twice to snatch maximum points in Lisbon against the Ukrainians and Serbians respectively on the first and second matchdays of the European qualifiers.