Latvia vs. Lithuania – Prediction and Betting Tips | Jun 8, 2024

Latvia and Lithuania will raise the curtain on the 2024 Baltic Cup on Saturday, when they square off in a semi-final in Riga. The hosts reached the final of the last iteration of the competition in 2022, while their opponents have failed to advance from the semi-finals or prevail in the league format since losing in the 2014 final to Latvia.

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Match Preview

Latvia head into the 2024 Baltic Cup aiming to regain the trophy that they last won for a record 13th time in 2018. That triumph made it four consecutive titles for the 11 Wolves, having got the better of Lithuania in the 2014 final before topping the group format of the competition in the following two campaigns. They have failed to add to their trophy cabinets in the two attempts since, though, firstly finishing second in the 2020 league despite dishing out a 3-1 beating to Saturday’s opponents in their meeting, before most recently reaching the final in 2022 with a penalty shootout victory over Estonia, only to fall at the final hurdle in another shootout in the final against Iceland after a 1-1 draw in normal time.

After a tough Euro 2024 qualifying campaign ended last year, with the 11 Wolves finishing bottom of their group with just three points from eight outings, they now return to action having played two games in 2024, meeting Cyprus and Liechtenstein in a pair of friendlies in March under the new management of Paolo Nicolato and playing out consecutive 1-1 draws, with Andrejs Ciganiks equalising late on against the former and Raimonds Krollis scoring an early leveller against the latter. Now heading into their first competitive action under the new boss with the aim of ending a six-year wait for another trophy, Latvia will set out to again get the better of Saturday’s opponents and book their place in the Baltic Cup final.

Their visitors, meanwhile, travel to Riga aiming to move within one game of bringing the trophy home for the first time since 2010, when they moved onto 10 Baltic Cup titles by pipping Saturday’s hosts to top spot. It has, however, been over 19 years since Lithuania prevailed in a match against Latvia in this competition, having lost six times and drawn twice since, most recently losing 3-1 in the 2020 league iteration, and most notably falling short in a 1-0 loss in the 2014 final in Liepaja.

On the competition’s return to a knockout format in 2022, the Nacionaline komanda began their latest bid against Iceland on home turf, but they were unable to progress having fallen short in a penalty shootout to the eventual champions after playing out a goalless stalemate in 90 minutes. Following a difficult Euro 2024 qualifying campaign of their own last year, their only action of the New Year thus far has come in the UEFA Nations League in a two-legged tie with Gibraltar, and Edgaras Jankauskas’s team maintained their standing in League C with a two-legged victory thanks to a pair of 1-0 wins, with Armandas Kucys scoring their goal away from home and Fedor Cernych doubling the aggregate lead in Kaunas. Now returning to competitive action with their sights set on an 11th Baltic Cup title, Lithuania will bid to end their long wait for a triumph over Latvia on Saturday and prevail in Riga to advance to next week’s final.

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Team News

Latvia have a strong and experienced squad available for the 2024 Baltic Cup, and Paolo Nicolato certainly has options to choose from in attack. Cambuur forward Roberts Uldrikis should continue to lead the line, having managed seven goals in 49 appearances in his international career, while Janis Ikaunieks, who tops the current squad with 12 goals, is bound to play a key role in a supporting trio. Vladislavs Gutkovskis will also fight to start in the attack, while Aleksejs Saveļjevs should again join Kristers Tobers in the engine room.

Lithuania are without several key players in their squad from the last round of international fingers, with midfielders Vykintas Slivka, Ovidijus Verbickas, and Donatas Kazlauskas missing out alongside defender Markas Beneta after all being called up for their UEFA Nations League tie against Gibraltar. Young Torino midfielder Gvidas Gineitis and important defender Edgaras Utkus are also absent from the squad due to injuries, meaning Modestas Vorobjovas and Paulius Golubickas may get the nod to partner up in the centre, while Rokas Lekiatas and Pijus Servys may be joined by Edvinas Girdvainis in a back three. In their anticipated 3-4-3 shape, Arvydas Novikovas and Fedor Cernych will continue to play important roles going forward, having scored 12 and 15 international goals respectively.

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Latvia Possible Starting Lineup: Ozols; Savalnieks, Cernomordijs, Balodis, Ciganiks; Tobers, Saveļjevs; Gutkovskis, Ikaunieks, Daskevics; Uldrikis

Lithuania Possible Starting Lineup: Gertmonas; Lekiatas, Girdvainis, Servys; Lasickas, Vorobjovas, Golubickas, Romanovskij; Novikovas, Paulauskas, Cernych

Prediction

Goal.mu/Mauri.bet predicts: Latvia 2-1 Lithuania

Based on the current form and head-to-head record, Latvia is slightly favored to win this encounter. The hosts’ recent performances and their strong record in the Baltic Cup suggest they are likely to edge past Lithuania. Lithuania’s struggles against Latvia in the competition’s history further tilt the balance in favor of the home team.

Betting Tips:

  • Both Teams to Score: Yes
  • Over/Under 2.5 Full Time: Over 2.5 goals

Hot Stat: Lithuania has not won a match against Latvia in the Baltic Cup since 2005, losing six and drawing two of their encounters since then.

 

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