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UEFA Euro 2012 Playoff: Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Portugal Predictions 11/11

Euro 2012 qualifying continues on Friday afternoon at Olympic Stadium in a match that one figures Bosnia-Herzegovina has to win if it has any chance of winning the home and home match with Portugal to get into Euro 2012. Friday’s kick is slated for 2:00 p.m. (ET).
It’s going to be an interesting match for Bosnia for sure. It was able to take 20 points in its 10 qualifying matches against a relatively easy group, but the problem that it ran into was that it couldn’t find a way to take three points on French soil on the final day of qualifying. France was able to salvage the 1-1 draw that it needed to win its way into the competition thanks to a Samir Nasri penalty late on.

With Portugal ranked fifth in Europe by UEFA and Bosnia ranked No. 32, there is definitely a clear difference between these two teams. However, we are definitely not one to count out the Bosnians, especially in this home fixture, where it went 4-0-1 with a +7 goal differential in the group stage.

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Manchester City strike Edin Dzeko is leading the way for Bosnia & Herzegovina, and he and captain Emir Spahic have dreams of getting this team into the European competition for the first time.

This season, it was a true disappointment for Portugal, which has yet to really make a major move as one of the best sides in the world in spite of its country ranking. Even with such tremendous talent on the pitch, the team has never made it out of the Round of 16 in the World Cup, and it was only a runner up in Euro 2004 on its home soil. The Portuguese have made the semifinals in this tournament three times, but have yet to win it.

Just getting to this point was a tad lucky. In a group in which it became very easy to take points from Iceland and Cyprus, it was a shock to see Portugal fail to beat out Denmark and Norway for the automatic spot in Group H. Instead, it was the Danes that took that spot thanks to a 2-1 win in the final day of qualifying against the Portuguese. They ended up finishing three points adrift of Denmark but on level terms with Norway, only to go through thanks to a +9 goal differential.

The idea that this team is struggling so much with Cristiano Ronaldo and Nuno Gomes at the front is scary in itself. There are just some major problems at the back though, as the team allowed 12 goals in just eight qualifying matches, which is remarkably bad considering how easy that it should have been to take care of the two cellar dwellers in the group.

These two teams have only played each other twice in their history, that coming in the World Cup 2010 Qualification Playoff. In both instances, Bosnia dropped 1-0, though it did hit the woodwork in both matches a grand total of three times.

It’s not surprising that Portugal is the slight favorite at -150 on a pick ‘em line to take the lead in this fixture. As we said earlier though, this is a match that Bosnia absolutely has to win, because we just don’t see it happening on Portuguese soil without it having a lead to work with.

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