Spain midfielder, Cesc Fabregas, has compared the match meeting between Spain and Portugal in the semifinals of Euro 2012 as El Clasico in the Spanish league competition that became a symbol of Barcelona and Real Madrid.
If you look closely at the styles of play adopted by the two teams over the course of the UEFA tournament, Portugal have adopted a style closer to that of Real Madrid who rely on a quick counter-attack through the two stars, Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo. While the Spanish have played with a style similar to that of the Barcelona Football club, where they control the ball very well. Portugal will probably be the toughest team that Spain will be facing in this tournament with Christiano Ronaldo liely to prove a handful for a team that hasn’t dazzled as well as they can.
The Spanish team knows very well the quality of the Portugal striker who scored 60 goals for Real Madrid in the Spanish league, bringing to an end the dominance of Barcelona.
Portugal may hold a slight edge in this exciting game that will take place at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk, Ukraine because many of the players who play for them also do so in the Spanish – La Liga. Cristiano Ronaldo, Pepe, and Coentrao, are all familiar with the plays of the Spanish coach Vicente Del Bosque during their stint in the Spanish Football league.
If Vicente Del Bosque does not change the style of play by placing a pure striker in front, then Spain may find it difficult to make it to the finals because Portugal has a very coördinated defense in Pepe and Coentrao. If Spain wants to win, then the must play someone from outside the La Liga and I rate Juan Matta over Fernando Torres, though only for this game.
In all the matches in which Spain played in the tournament so far, they had the ball possession of more than 50 percent; but it seems like Spain are the worst team when it comes to counter-attack as they lack pace to carry the ball through. Mid-field has served as the power house for Spain in the recent years-with the likes of Xavi Hernandez Andres Iniesta Xabi Alonso etc.
Road to semi-finals:
Germany 0-1 Match 1 Italy 1-1
Denmark 3-2 Match 2 Ireland 4-0
Holland 2-1 Match 3 Croatia 1-0
Czech Republic 1-0 France 2-0
Head to Head Spain vs Portugal:
18-Nov-2010 Portugal 4 – Spain 0 FR
30-Jun-2010 Spain 1 – Portugal 0 WC
So What’s likely to happen in Today’s game?
Del Bosque’s Spain will be most probably go with the same line-up, which started against France in the quarter-finals with Cesc Fabregas playing in the centre along side, David Silva and Andres Iniesta; whereas Bento’s Portugal will be replacing the injured Zaragoza striker Postiga (the only survivor from Portugal’s Euro 2012 squad along with Ronaldo) with Besiktas’s Almeida in its starting XI.
As being beaten by Spain in the round of 16 stage of World Cup 2010, Portuguese will look for a revenge and it is quite sure that both the teams will come up with an attacking display which will make the game more interesting.
Prediction: Spain 1-1 Portugal.
Spain‘s victory: 32%
Portugal victory: 32%
Spain to go through on Penalties.