Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Semi-Final - Spain v Portugal

The first of the Semi-Finals takes place tonight with an all Iberian Peninsula clash between Spain and Portugal.

Spain got here after a simple win over France in the Quarter-Final. Portugal had an equally comfortable victory over Czech Rep although it did take them 80 minutes to break the deadlock in that game.

Spain have made one change to the starting lineup that started sgainst France. Sevilla striker, Alvaro Negredo starts up front in place of Fabregas. I have watched Negredo a few times for Sevilla and I think he could be the missing link in this Spain team. He is lively and will not be afraid to have a shot if he gets the slightest opportunity.

If Spain can keep possession like they have done in every game so far, then Silva & Iniesta will be able to create openings for Negredo to take advantage of.

Previously Spain have lined up with Torres & Fabregas in that position. Fabregas isn't a natural striker & since Torres has been through his bad run, he has appeared shot shy on occasions.

Portugal will no doubt look to get star man, Cristiano Ronaldo, involved as much as possible. Ronaldo can hurt any team in the world but I think Portugal will struggle to get the ball to him.

Everyone raves about how good Spain are in possession which is justified. However, few people mention how good Spain are when they don't have the ball. When Spain lose possession they are instantly all over the opposition, hunting in packs and forcing mistakes.

Ronaldo is not going to see as much of the ball as he has in the first 4 games. When he does get it he is going to have 3 or 4 Spaniards around him. If Portugal are to cause an upset here I think the key will be to use the spaces created due to the extra attention Ronaldo will receive.

Portugal will give Spain a decent game but I expect Spain to once again have a lot of possession & nick a narrow victory.

Spain 1-0 Portugal

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