Portugal will face Lithuania on Tuesday in the hope of building on their first UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying win and closing the eight-point margin between them and Group B leaders Ukraine.
The European champions have played only three games in the qualification stage—two fewer than Ukraine and one less than Lithuania, Serbia and Luxembourg—but are already a little off the pace.
Hosts Lithuania have taken a single point from their four games and sit bottom of Group B. They haven't won in 15 outings (12 losses, three draws), a sequence that dates back to March 2018.
Portugal finally got a qualifying win when they beat Serbia 4-2 in Belgrade on Saturday, and they make the trip to the LFF Stadium in Vilnius targeting back-to-back victories.
Date: Tuesday, September 10
Time: 7:45 p.m. BST/2:45 p.m. ET
Venue: LFF Stadium, Vilnius, Lithuania
TV Info: Sky Sports Premier League (UK), Univision Now (U.S.)
Despite only winning their first European qualifier a matter of days ago, Portugal travel to Vilnius on the back of a three-match winning streak and having avoided defeat in their last 11 outings.
The Selecao have not lost since succumbing 2-1 to Uruguay in the 2018 FIFA World Cup round of 16, and they beat the Netherlands in June to claim the inaugural UEFA Nations League crown to add to their Euro 2016 title.
Saturday's win was a case of better late than never as they seek to secure one of the top two qualifying spots in Group B. And that also goes for Juventus talisman Cristiano Ronaldo, who opened his Euro 2020 account in the win over Serbia, via Sky Sports (UK only):
Lithuania will likely play with men behind the ball and hope to break on the counter on Tuesday.
Portugal have kept four clean sheets in their 11 matches since the last World Cup, and sportswriter Tom Kundert said after the win against Serbia that playing to the team's attacking strengths and accepting any shortcomings at the back could work in their favour:
Barcelona right-back Nelson Semedo suffered a knock against Serbia but may be fit to face Lithuania, according to Mundo Deportivo (h/t Football Espana). Manchester City's Joao Cancelo is an alternative choice.
Lithuania manager Valdas Urbonas has not won a game since taking up his role in February, with a home draw against Luxembourg representing the only competitive point won during his tenure.
His side were hammered 3-0 at home by Ukraine on Saturday and managed just one shot on target throughout the 90 minutes:
Ukraine are enjoying a promising qualifying campaign, but Portugal manager Fernando Santos should still feel confident in his squad and that they can topple the Group B leaders.
Defeat on Tuesday would effectively rule Lithuania out of qualification for Euro 2020, leaving them seven points off the top two with three games to play. Meanwhile, three points will be crucial for Portugal as they look to continue their rise through the group.