Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Matchpack: Portugal v Spain


Team news, manager quotes, facts and odds ahead of the Euro 2012 semi-final between Portugal and Spain in Donetsk.

Portugal make just one change from the team that has got them this far as Hugo Almeida comes in for the injured striker Helder Postiga, who is out for the rest of the tournament. Besiktas forward Almeida replaced Postiga and offers a greater aerial threat than the ex-Spurs man.
Spain have a striker conundrum of their own – whether to start with one at all. The pass masters looked a touch toothless with the False Nine formation that saw Cesc Fabregas spearhead a three-man attacking midfield, with calls for Fernando Torres or the as yet unused Fernando Llorente line up against Portugal.
Paulo Bento: "(Spain) have an identity based around the ball possession they have. They always play in last third and are very strong when they lose the ball, that's why they are a team of great quality, why they are European and world champions. We will have a lot of difficulties but the important thing is that we have to be loyal to our identity too."
Vicente del Bosque: "This is the most important game of our lives. We hope that we will keep progressing and stay in the elite of football. We have spent the whole of our lives looking for a style and now we have one that has been successful. Yet there are always people who are not satisfied. Our philosophy has got us here. I would prefer [Portugal] to play deep. I like us to be in the opposition's half and to have possession of the ball. I think that we have the players and the resources to open up defences."
Spain have met Portugal 34 times – more than any other side – winning 16 times and losing just six.
However, this will only be the third time that Spain and Portugal will have met outside of the Iberian Peninsula.
Their last encounter, in November 2010 in Lisbon, ended 4-0 in favour of Portugal, which remains Spain’s heaviest defeat since 1963.
Spain have won just two of their last 12 games against Portugal.
Fourteen of Spain’s 16 wins against Portugal occurred before 1960.
Portugal and Spain have met three times in a major tournament, winning once each and drawing the other game.
Those three games have produced just four goals in total.
Portugal are making their fourth semi-final appearance at European Championship finals (1984, 2000, 2004), while they have only managed to reach the final once, on home soil in 2004.
Spain have won 31 out of 34 competitive games under Vicente Del Bosque.
Spain have kept a clean sheet in each of their last eight knockout games in major finals.
The Spaniards have been ahead in 18 games at the Euros so far and have never lost – W16 D2.
Spain have conceded just one goal so far at Euro 2012, fewer than any other side.
Five of Spain’s eight goals at Euro 2012 have come in the last 30 minutes of play.
Portugal have hit the woodwork six times at Euro 2012, more than any other side at any European Championship finals (1980-2012).
Four of Portugal’s six shots which have hit the woodwork have come courtesy of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Cristiano Ronaldo has already scored six goals overall in European Championship finals – only Michel Platini (nine) and Alan Shearer (seven) have netted more in the competition.
Cristiano Ronaldo is the first ever player to attempt 30 shots (including blocked) in a single Euro tournament.
Spain have completed 2623 passes so far at Euro 2012, more than double as many as Portugal (1159).

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